“The loss of public revenue from reduced sales at BC Liquor Stores is also worrying. Those revenues pay for health, social services, education and other public services." — Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President
Vancouver (02 Nov. 2015) — The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) is urging the provincial government to immediately halt plans for the sale of B.C. wine, cider and sake in grocery stores for six months.
The request is contained in a letter sent this week to B.C. Premier Christy Clark from BCGEU President Stephanie Smith.
BCGEU/NUPGE outlines concerns with privatization of alcohol sales to the Premier
In the letter, the union, which represents nearly 4,000 employees of the Liquor Distribution Branch, outlines numerous concerns about the privatization of liquor sales.
- Alcohol sales to minors. The BCGEU/NUPGE worries grocery store employees will lack the same level of training in social responsibility BC Liquor Store employees. Alcohol sales may be only a small part of the job in a grocery store. Employees may not be experienced about rules around the legal drinking age, ID and how to identify false ID.
- BCGEU/NUPGE suspects it may be easier for youth to shoplift alcohol from a large grocery store than from a BC Liquor Store.
- Alcohol sales may eventually expand beyond wine, cider and sake. Additionally, the “B.C.-only” model may violate international trade obligations. A successful international trade challenge would result in grocery stores being able to sell a much wider variety of products, quite possibly leading to the sale of a full range of alcohol products on grocery store shelves. This would be a problem not only because it could make alcohol more available to minors, but also because it would result in a significant increase in the number of liquor retail locations in B.C.
Loss of revenue should be a major concern for B.C. government
“The loss of public revenue from reduced sales at BC Liquor Stores is also worrying. Those revenues pay for health, social services, education and other public services. We’ll be very disappointed if privatization goes ahead, as we've made a very strong case for keeping liquor sales public,” said Smith.
The BCGEU/NUPGE is pressing the government to use the six-month moratorium period to consider whether the privatization of liquor sales is in the best interests of British Columbians.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE