BCGEU wins employment security for Liquor Distribution Branch employees affected by government sell off

March 21, 2012

The B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union and the B.C. Government have concluded a Memorandum of Agreement, which provides job security measures for members employed by the Liquor Distribution Branch. These members, roughly 600 in total, work in Liquor Distribution Branch warehouses and wholesale customer centres in Vancouver, Kamloops and Victoria.

All Retail Store & Warehouse component members whose jobs are made redundant due to the sale will receive employment offers with the new operator. Members of other components (Administrative Services; Social, Information & Health; and Environmental, Technical & Operational) whose jobs become redundant may also receive offers from the new operator. In any case, they’re eligible for permanent placement through the Article 36 joint committee.

The agreement is effective April 1, 2012. It includes the following provisions:

• The new operator will participate in the Public Service Pension Plan;
• Employees will remain members of the BCGEU. Collective agreement rights will carry on; 
• Employees will be encouraged to accept employment with the new operator.  Employees who accept will remain “in-service” for two years for the purpose of bidding on B.C. public service jobs. Those who decline employment will be eligible for placement within the public service;
• Employees of the new operator will return to the public service if operations are returned to government. They will be considered to have had continuous service with the province;
• Early retirement and voluntary departure incentives will be offered to regular employees in the warehouse and distribution system;
• Current provisions for auxiliary employees to convert to regular status will continue to apply for current warehouse and store employees.

• Auxiliary employees hired after April 1, 2012 will be employed on a temporary basis until the new operator assumes control, which the employer estimates will be between May 2013 and March 2014.

“We’re satisfied we were able to obtain protection for our members affected by the government’s sell off of the warehouse and distribution system, said BCGEU President Darryl Walker. “Still, we believe the decision to privatize is a bad one for British Columbia.”