TORONTO, March 23, 2013 /CNW/ - Angered and frustrated by the LCBO
proposed four-year wage freeze and a host of other claw backs from
their current contract, more than 7,000 unionized liquor board
employees will take an April strike vote to back up their bargaining
"It's outrageous what management's negotiators have brought to the
table," said Denise Davis, chair of the liquor board employees division
of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU). "What they've
proposed doesn't meet our minimum expectations. Our members are fed up
and won't back down."
She said a strike vote does not mean employees will walk off the job.
It's a signal to management to get serious about negotiating a good
contract that preserves good jobs in the community. The union's
contract with the LCBO expires on Mar. 31, with bargaining dates set
Besides a wage freeze to 2017, the LCBO has proposed a revised pay grid
for new employees, a wage freeze for wage progression and wants to
eliminate 270 assistant management positions at its larger stores. The
Crown agency - which is the world's largest retailer of spirits, wine
and beer - also wants to "review" the employees' benefits packages with
an eye for efficiencies.
The union is also concerned by the classification trend at the LCBO
which, between Apr. 2008 and Sept. 2012, had increased part-time work
by 981 positions - a number that spikes during the Christmas-New Year's
holiday and summer months - but has added only 156 permanent-full-time
"It's not uncommon for an employee to wait 10, 15 or more years before
they're able land a permanent, full-time job," said Davis. "The average
part-timer at the LCBO earns about $26,000 a year. Is that a sufficient
amount to improve your quality of life, give your kids opportunities
and to retire with dignity? I think not."
She also pointed out that the per-employee profit at the LCBO amounts to
more than $200,000 a year. In its last fiscal year the retail giant
returned a dividend to the Ontario treasury of close to $1.6 billion on
revenues more than $4.5 billion.
"The LCBO can well afford our modest contract demands," said Davis. "We
never bargain with the intention of striking but our employer needs to
roll up its sleeves and get down to some genuine negotiations."
SOURCE: Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
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