Just as the hospitality industry in BC was feeling optimism, another hurdle has been thrown their way.
It’s been over a week since BC General Employees’ Union (BCGEU) served strike notice and initiated job action outside four key BC Liquor Distribution Centres, including one location in Victoria.
The impact has already begun for the hospitality industry, forcing 19 collective associations representing the province’s hospitality, tourism, liquor and cannabis retail businesses to press the union and province to come to a swift resolution.
The group penned an open letter to Premier John Horgan and BCGEU, stating the strike has caused product shortages “with severe impacts” on revenue.
The group includes the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, Alliance of Beverage Licensees (ABLE BC), BC Craft Brewers Guild, BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association, and many other notable associations.
The open letter addressed on August 24th, comes a day after the BCGEU announced it would accept the government’s offer to return to the bargaining table, however, that strike action would continue until further notice.
“This is a significant development, and it is the direct result of the pressure BCGEU members have applied, which includes the current job action and shows solidarity from BCGEU members and allies,” BCGEU said on Tuesday.
In order to maintain that pressure, the union said it would continue with the current job action.
Since the BCGEU commenced job action on August 15th, BC’s hospitality, liquor, and cannabis businesses said they have already begun to experience product shortages with severe impacts on their revenue.
“We have been cut off from vital inventory needed to maintain the viability of our businesses and the jobs we support and create,” the open the letter read.
“We support the right of government employees to bargain collectively, but the decision by the BCGEU to target liquor distribution centres drags the province’s hospitality, tourism, liquor and cannabis industries into a dispute that has nothing to do with us,” it reads.
The open letter goes on to say these industries “will unfairly bear the brunt of serious economic consequences including business closures and layoffs, cancelled events such as concerts and weddings, loss of consumer confidence, and damage to BC’s reputation among tourists and consumers.”
The BCGEU represents nearly 33,000 public service workers who are fighting for wage protection against inflation and rising costs of living.
Both the BCGEU and BC Government declined to comment after agreeing to a media blackout while negotiations resume.