Unifor, representing more than 1,000 members in British Columbia and Ontario, has issued a strike notice to Brink’s Canada Limited.
The crucial dispute continues to be the “all off” crewing practice, where the use of two-person crews means the driver and messenger (bag person? grin) are both forced to disembark from the vehicle at drop-offs and pick-ups, leaving them vulnerable to attack.
Unifor has called for three-person crews to permit the driver to stay in the vehicle to function as a lookout and protect his fellow crew members. The Canadian company will not even guarantee that they will not further reduce to one-person crews.
“Brink’s is standing by its refusal to staff its armored cars to provide maximum safety to both workers and the public,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “Unifor will not sign an agreement that puts lives in jeopardy.”
With the delivery of the 72-hour strike notice Brink’s now risks simultaneous labor disputes in Ontario and British Columbia. The armored car drivers and messengers deliver services to thousands of financial institutions, ATM’s and retail outlets across the two provinces.
Approximately 260 members at Unifor Local 114 in British Columbia and 800 members at Unifor Local’s 27, 103, 112, 195, 229, 504, 598, 599, 1359, 1106 and 4266 will be in a legal strike position as of 9:01 p.m. (PT) on Wednesday October 18, 2017 (12:01 a.m. ET on Thursday October 19, 2017).
“It is our hope that a deal can still be reached to avoid inconvenience to business and the public, but the safety of our members isn’t negotiable,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor’s BC Area Director.
Other outstanding issues include fair wages, guaranteed hours, overtime pay, and pensions and benefits.
“Our members do not contemplate strike action lightly,” said Mike Armstrong, Unifor National Staff Representative and lead on armored car industry matters. “This is the last available resort in our effort to pursue reaching a fair and reasonable agreement.”
Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.