Company remains willing to meet with union
SURREY, BC, Sept. 14 /CNW/ - In preparation for possible job action by
the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union (COPE), Local 378,
Terasen Gas (TSX:FTS) has filed an Essential Services Application with the
Labour Relations Board.
COPE served Terasen Gas with 72-hour strike notice on September 14, 2007.
Union members participated in a strike vote on September 13, 2007 and the
union informed the company today that a strike mandate has passed. COPE 378
represents 465 Terasen Gas employees working primarily in office and
Terasen Gas is committed to resolve this dispute through the collective
bargaining process and hopes to resume negotiations with the COPE as quickly
as possible. However, in the event of a work stoppage by COPE, Terasen plans
to respond to any natural gas emergencies using management and essential
Essential services are those that the Labour Relations Board of B.C.
considers necessary or essential to prevent immediate and serious danger to
the health, safety or welfare of the residents of British Columbia.
The company remains focused on ensuring the continued safety of its
operations and the reliability of supply to Terasen Gas customers. Until the
essential services designation is awarded, no strike action can legally occur.
Terasen Gas has been in ongoing negotiations with COPE 378 since
February 2007 in an effort to reach a new collective agreement. Terasen Gas'
most recent offer included a wage increase of 14.8 per cent compounded over
five years and an increase in benefits of 5.3 per cent. COPE 378 would be the
third group at Terasen Gas to move toward flexible benefits. Terasen Gas has
not experienced a labour disruption in 18 years.
Terasen Gas is mainly composed of the operations of Terasen Gas Inc. and
Terasen Gas (Vancouver Island) Inc., both indirect wholly owned subsidiaries
of Fortis Inc. Fortis Inc., the largest investor-owned distribution utility in
Canada, serves almost two million gas and electric customers and has
approximately $10 billion of assets. Its regulated holdings include Terasen
Gas and electric utilities in five Canadian provinces and three Caribbean
countries. Fortis Inc. owns non-regulated hydroelectric generation assets
across Canada and in Belize and upper New York State. It also owns hotels and
commercial real estate in Canada. Fortis Inc. shares are listed on the Toronto
Stock Exchange and trade under the symbol FTS. Additional information can be
accessed at www.fortisinc.com or www.sedar.com.
For further information:
For further information: Media contact: Joyce Wagenaar, Corporate
Communications Manager, Terasen Gas, Phone: (604) 592-7682, Email: