Union files complaint after 1,400 BC Ferries workers laid off due to COVID-19

BC Ferries slashes major routes, lays off hundreds of workers amid COVID-19

The BC Ferry and Marine Workers Union has filed a complaint of unfair labour practice with the BC Labour Relations Board after 1,400 workers were laid off last week amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

With an 80-per-cent drop in passengers in the last few weeks, BC Ferries also announced it was suspending service on the route between Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver and Departure Bay in Nanaimo for 60 days.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: BC Ferries to slash service levels by half, lay off up to 1,400 workers

Union president Graeme Johnston said the discharges were announced without an agreement in place with the union.

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“It’s not legal, it’s not fair. It’s complete disrespect for the union, for its membership,” he said.

“There was some good faith negotiations, or at least what we thought were good faith negotiations, but then at the 11th hour, we were told everything was off the table and the collective agreement wouldn’t apply.”

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New rules for BC Ferries passengers due to coronavirus
New rules for BC Ferries passengers due to coronavirus

He said he wished BC Ferries had applied for the federal government’s 75-per-cent wage subsidy instead.

The corporation has declined to comment.

The labour board is expected to hear the complaint sometime this week.