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Solidarity rally held for locked-out dispatchers, call-takers of cab company in Kelowna

Click to play video: 'Solidarity rally held for locked-out dispatchers, call-takers of cab company in Kelowna' Solidarity rally held for locked-out dispatchers, call-takers of cab company in Kelowna
A solidarity rally in support of locked-out workers at Kelowna Cabs was slated to take place on Friday afternoon. The employees were locked out following a 72-hour notice was issued by their employer on Tuesday – Feb 26, 2021

A solidarity rally in support of locked-out workers at Kelowna Cabs was slated to take place on Friday afternoon.

The rally, set for Reid’s Corner at 1:45 p.m., was called by the union which represents call-takers and dispatchers at the taxi company.

The employees were locked out following a 72-hour notice was issued by their employer on Tuesday.

Members were denied access to the main office despite efforts to resume duties upon expiration of the notice at 11:58 a.m., Friday.

Read more: Union outraged as lockout looms for workers at Kelowna Cab

As it stands, no further talks are planned either.

“We have not heard anything from the employer to come back to the table, nor has the consultant they hired reached out to us,” said MoveUp vice president Christy Slusarenko.

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The lockout directly affects five workers: three full-time and two part-time dispatchers and call takers.

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Kelowna taxi companies preparing for Uber’s entry – Sep 10, 2020

MoveUp claims the company wants to outsource the jobs to a call centre in India.

“The people who know how to navigate around this community, and understand the needs of the people in this community, are the people who are from this community, not someone overseas who can’t even find Kelowna on a map,” Slusarenko recently stated.

However, when contacted by Global News, Kelowna Cabs flatly denied MoveUp’s claim, stating in a text that “outsourcing jobs to India absolutely not true.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Okanagan taxi company says fewer cabs, longer waits because of COVID-19 pandemic

Slusarenko told Global News she’s also concerned for four other separate companies in the Lower Mainland that MoveUp represents.

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“We’re worried this will set a precedent, which could result in these other members suffering the same fate,” she said.

Workers at Kelowna Cabs have been without a collective agreement since the previous one expired in May 2019.

A statement from Kelowna Cabs Chairman Andy Sandhu also said “none of the employees will be laid off or lose their jobs,” and that “90 per cent (of our) employees are happy and want to work and they’ve been here over 15 years and continue to work with us (for) many years to come.”

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