The possibility of a Christmastime strike tying up BC Ferries has been raised by the union at Pacific Coach Lines, the bus company that has the cross-water run.
“We’re re-evaluating what our options are. I mean, this is a very difficult time for our members.”
That’s Mario Santos of Unifor, representing the bus company employees who are in the midst of contract talks.
He says 77 workers have been told they are being laid off because the employer no longer has the contract with BC Ferries.
“We spent hours doing a proposal package and trying to deal with the issue of severance. They spent about five minutes looking at our proposal package, threw it across the table, and said, ‘Not good enough, we’re done. Let us know when you’re going to set up picket lines.'”
Santos won’t say when any decision will be made about setting up a picket line at BC Ferries terminals.
Ferries spokesperson Deb Marshall says the corporation will not let a labour dispute disrupt sailings.
“We do want people to know that this is not an issue between BC Ferries and our employees. This is a third party issue. If there was any secondary picketing or any action at our terminals, we would take all steps necessary to ensure continued service at BC Ferries.”
That means BC Ferries would immediately head into BC Supreme Court to have the disruption removed.
A statement of Pacific Coach Lines says if there is a strike, it will not operate buses and will not be at BC Ferries terminals, so “picketing undertaken at BC Ferries Terminals would be illegal.”