PRT tree nursery workers vote 96% to strike in B.C. | National Union of Public and General Employees

PRT tree nursery workers vote 96% to strike in B.C.

BCGEU members reject employer demanding wage cuts ranging up to 17% and other concession demands.

Vancouver (21 July 2009) - More than 100 employees of Pacific Regeneration Technologies (PRT) have voted overwhelmingly to strike if necessary to fight employer demands for concessions at the bargaining table.

"Our members who grow seedlings for reforestation in B.C.'s forestry sector have approved strike action by a 96% margin with a very high turnout," says Darryl Walker, president of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE). "It sends a strong message to their employer that they are not prepared to accept concessions in a new contract."

Walker says contract talks with PRT broke down June 26 over employer demands for wage cuts ranging up to 17%. Access to benefits is also an important issue.

While PRT staff can launch strike action with 72-hours notice, Walker says that BCGEU will first seek mediation assistance from the B.C. Labour Relations Board (BCLRB) to try and get talks back on track. The employees' last contract expired Dec. 31 last year.

BCGEU members work at PRT tree nurseries in Campbell River, Red Rock (Prince George), Summerland, Vernon, Armstrong and Harrop (Nelson). The company, which is now an income trust traded on the Toronto stock exchange, was originally set up after the B.C. government privatized its reforestation nurseries in 1988.

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 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