Ferry essential service levels set

  • Nov. 28, 2003 4:00 p.m.

Along with winter storms, the Queen of Prince Rupert and the Kwuna may soon have something new to mess up their schedules-fewer sailings.
The BC Labour Relations Board released the essential service levels for BC Ferries on Nov. 28. If the union strikes, the Kwuna will drop from 12 to 6 daily round trip sailings between Alliford Bay and Skidegate Landing. And the Queen of Prince Rupert will drop from three to two sailings per week between the islands and Prince Rupert.
Sailing times will be decided by BC Ferries in the event of a strike. Emergency vehicles, customers traveling for medical reasons, school buses and essential commercial vehicles will have priority. Reservations and assured loading will be cancelled; services such as gift shops and cafeterias will be closed.
The BC Ferry and Marine Workers Union are required to give 72-hour notice of any job action. Union members voted 97-percent in favour of strike action earlier this fall, but so far no picket lines have been set up.
At the request of BC Ferries, the Labour Relations Board ordered a mediator for the dispute. Mediated talks between BC Ferries and the union were scheduled for Dec. 1-3.
If the union does strike, the government may order them back to work for a 90-day cooling off period. The province has dusted off legislation from the seventies that gives it the power to order the union back to work.