As the lockout of local workers enters into it’s fifth month one can only wonder how long Fortis BC is going to leave it’s workers out to suffer?
The company’s official press release explains that they have come back to the bargaining table with the union and are doing their part. What it fails to mention is that each time they have come back demanding more and more and that they refuse to meet the union in the middle on the main issue of job descriptions.
The Union and Company where very close in June with the main stumbling block being the company’s demand to have total control over job descriptions. Since that time the union has offered to meet Fortis in the middle and accept changes that where recently agreed to in the company’s gas division. Fortis on the other hand has refused to budge on their demands and has instead asked for more concessions.
The company has stated throughout that they need the changes to increase business efficiency, but as one Fortis worker has questioned, “where is the calculation for the efficiency losses that will come out of this lockout as it drags on?” From the losses of experienced workers who can’t afford to wait for Fortis to deal and have been forced to find work elsewhere, to the bitterness that is being put into the workforce by the punishment that they have been suffering. How can Fortis expect that their workers will be willing to go the extra mile for the company in the future?
In addition, there have already been impacts felt in all of our communities. Workers who have had to put spending on hold and have been forced to dip into savings are not able to spare money for anything but the essentials. The longer fortis continues this lockout the harder it will be for them to re-enter the economy, especially where it comes to things like luxury items, recreation and home renovations. One can only hope that the dispute can be ended before the holiday season approaches or it may be a cold one for workers and local businesses alike.
Please show your support for these workers and demand that Fortis engage in real negotiations so we can all get back to normal! Remember if you are a Fortis customer or shareholder you have a say in how they do business! Demand that they quit putting the company’s profit before our communities health and the wellbeing of all our nieghbours and demand that your voice be heard in this dispute!