UPDATE: CityWest comments on potential strike

Telephone workers at CityWest could be on strike as early as March 31, 2012.

Telephone workers at CityWest could be on strike as early as March 31st, 2012.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 337, which represents 36 technicians and clerical workers at CityWest, say they are ready to strike and say that the company is demanding “aggressive concessions”.

We recognize that we need to be competitive and that we need to be able to provide superior service to CityWest customers. We have tried everything in our power, including working with a Federal Conciliation Officer to find an agreement.” said Lucy Zroback, Local 337 president, adding that the union made a proposal that would retool sick and family leave provisions and reduce members inividual annual incomes by more than $3,500.

“There are thirty-six workers who may be forced to go on strike. We live in Prince Rupert, pay taxes in Prince Rupert, shop and are loyal to local businesses in Prince Rupert. We are not asking for major increases and have offered concrete ways to save costs, increase productivity and provide more efficient staff utilization.”

A mediator has been appointed to encourage the two to continue negotiations, and the union says it’s worried that during job action the company would “attempt to move work to Terrace and outsource jobs to Nova Scotia and PEI”.

For its part, CityWest says they want to see a resolution to the dispute with minimal interruption.

It is extremely important that the negotiating parties continue to work together constructively and to not allow this process to negatively affect our customers. Our goal is to reach an agreement that is fair to all involved: our customers, our employees, and our shareholder,” said Marketing and Sales director Chad Cunningham.

“Our customers are entitled to great customer service, and they demand competitive pricing; if our company can supply this, we all win.”