PCL serves lock-out notice to its workers in an attempt to dodge severance obligations

VANCOUVER, May 6, 2016 /CNW/ - Shuttle company Pacific Coach Lines intends to lock-out over 70 members of Unifor Local 114 rather than complete good faith bargaining involving a fair severance package.

"PCL thinks it can dodge responsibility to pay severance to employees, some of them 20-year veterans who served the company with pride," said Mario Santos, Unifor National Representative. "PCL cannot escape their legal obligations under the collective agreement."

After performing cross-water bus service with BC Ferries for 30 years the company lost the contract in 2015, leading to lay-offs of about 70% of PCL's workforce. PCL currently provides a passenger transportation board contract of shuttle service to and from Whistler and the Vancouver airport. It also provides maintenance and customer service support for the aforementioned cross-water shuttle service.

Unifor says that PCL has spent the last year delaying and playing games with workers' schedules. Last year the union voted in favour of job action but continued to bargain in good faith (no picket line was ever set up). The lockout represents an unnecessary escalation by PCL when there is little alternative but to pay a fair severance and end this chapter in the company's decline.

In a December 17 press release, PCL promised that full-time employees on lay-off will receive severance packages, but the company has since reversed its position. Unifor Local 114 has one grievance at arbitration with two more to follow pertaining to severance.

"We know how this story ends: with a judgement against PCL that costs them more money than settling at the bargaining table," said Santos. "PCL should do the right thing rather than run up their costs."

The lock out is sent to commence on Sunday, May 8 at 1 p.m. PT.

A lock-out could affect bus shuttle service to Victoria, Whistler, and the Vancouver airport.

Unifor Local 114 represents a bargaining unit of 77 workers at Pacific Coach Lines including drivers, mechanics, service staff and ticket agents. Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.


For further information: please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at 778-903-6549 (cell) or Ian.Boyko@Unifor.org

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