Ontario, B.C. Brink’s workers deliver strike mandate

Unifor demands changes to employer’s crewing model
09/18/2017|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/18/2017

Unifor members at Brink’s Canada in British Columbia and Ontario voted on Sept. 15 to deliver overwhelming strike mandates.

“The physical safety of our members is at the core of these negotiations so there is no question that Unifor is prepared to take any and all necessary action,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor national president.

In Ontario, a total of 800 members voted 98 per cent in favour of a strike mandate. An additional 300 members represented by Unifor Local 114 in B.C. voted 95 per cent in favour of strike action if a fair and reasonable settlement is not reached, said the union.

The votes are just ahead of scheduled negotiations in B.C. in September and in Ontario in October. The company risks simultaneous labour disputes in both provinces as workers will enter legal strike positions on October 15 and 16 respectively, according to Unifor.

A key dispute involves the implementation of the “all-off” crewing model, where the use of two-person crews means the driver and messenger are both forced to disembark from the vehicle at drop-offs and pick-ups, leaving them vulnerable to attack. Unifor has long advocated for the elimination of the “all-off” model, instead calling for three-person crews to permit the driver to stay in the vehicle to function as a lookout and protect his fellow crew members, said the union.

Other contentious issues include a proposal by Brink’s to switch workers from a successful, well-funded defined benefit pension to a voluntary defined contribution plan. Workers in British Columbia also lag behind their Ontario counterparts financially despite the fact that many of the corporate contracts are national, according to Unifor.