Mediation date set for BCGEU workers at Pine Acres Home and Westbank First Nation

VANCOUVER, June 25, 2012 /CNW/ - A mediator has been appointed to the labour dispute between Westbank First Nation and members of the BCGEU who work at Pine Acres Home.

Westbank First Nation, who operate Pine Acres, had issued lock out notice for the 77 unionized employees on Friday. The lock out was to take effect this morning. 

Early Saturday the employer agreed to mediation and the lock out notice was withdrawn. 

Mediation will begin on Thursday and the BC Labour Relations Board has appointed mediator Grant McArthur. Lock out and strikes are prohibited until mediation is concluded. 

An impasse was reached at the bargaining table when Westbank First Nation was seeking massive concessions, including a $4-an-hour wage cut, large reductions to vacation time and sick time, cuts to benefits and the elimination of a pension for new hires. 

"The employer's proposal would impose a two-tier agreement," says BCGEU President Darryl Walker. "This would result in two very different working conditions and wages within the bargaining unit. This is just another example of a private healthcare employer attempting to drive down wages for our members."

Pine Acres, an intermediate care facility, is home to 63 seniors and elders. Many of the employees at Pine Acres - working as LPNs, care aides, activity aides, laundry, housekeeping and kitchen staff - have worked at the facility for decades, and 23 employees are also First Nations. 

SOURCE B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union

For further information:

Holly Reid, BCGEU Communications (604) 291-9611 or (604) 785-0124.

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