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Union calls SRD statement on wages ‘height of hypocrisy’

Latest in stalemate between regional district and workers at recreation complex
Union workers at Strathcona Gardens are looking for a cost of living agreement with their employer. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River Mirror

The back and forth between the union representing Strathcona Gardens employees and the Strathcona Regional District continued on Thursday, as the union issued a press release that “sets the record straight” on proposed wage increases.

The union said the SRD was showing “absolute hypocrisy” about the wage increases. On Monday, the SRD issued a statement titled “Union Demands Wage Increases Up to 13 (per cent) in First Year of New Contract.”

The Monday release said that the union’s “bargaining committee is now demanding wage increases that range from a minimum of 6.77 per cent to 13.28 per cent in the first year of a new contract.”

However, according to union business agent Shelley Siemens, the proposal is a “starting point to try to bring the employees closer and to try to reach parity to the neighbouring facilities who in similar positions make $5 (per hour) more while working for the same employer.”

She also called the SRD’s statement the “height of hypocrisy since management personnel… earned in some cases between 13.53 per cent to as high as 48 per cent increases from 2018-2019.”

“To come out publicly and say that their employees now do not deserve a provision in their contract to protect against inflation when they, themselves, have earned a higher percentage with one increasing by thirty-nine thousand per year, is absolute hypocrisy at its finest,” Siemens said.

According to the SRD’s annual financial reports, the senior human resources manager salary was increased from $81,399 per year in 2018 to $120,792 per year in 2019. The SRD’s financial reporting since 2015 can be found online.

The USW says that they have reached out to the SRD to continue at the bargaining table, but have not been given any dates to return to negotiations.

“Our members do not want to be inconveniencing the public, they want to be at work serving the public even though they are on the front lines of the pandemic like most public-facing servants,” the USW release said. “Their employer needs to recognize the inequities in their contract and get back to the bargaining table and work to solve this impasse.”

The Mirror has reached out to the SRD for comment.

RELATED: Union workers strike at Strathcona Gardens

SRD and unionized workers at impasse over Strathcona Gardens wages

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