B.C. Federation of Labour president Irene Lanzinger (right) chairs a meeting of B.C. union leaders at the B.C. legislature

Minimum wage formula coming soon

Premier Christy Clark says minimum wage won't be going up to $15 an hour, but a method to keep up with cost of living is coming

Premier Christy Clark has ruled out increasing B.C.’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, but she says there will be a formula announced soon for increases to keep pace with the cost of living.

After meetings between cabinet ministers and B.C. Federation of Labour executives this week, Clark said work is underway to extend the series of increases that brought the minimum wage up to its current rate of $10.25 an hour after a decade with no increase. She said the system has to protect small and medium-sized businesses from big jumps.

“They know that it’s going to go up, but they want to know that it’s going to go up in a predictable way so they can plan for it,” Clark said.

B.C. Fed president Irene Lanzinger said it’s big businesses like fast food chains that offer many of the minimum wage jobs. Of the 120,000 people in B.C. making minimum wage, nearly half are over 25 years old, 63 per cent are women and about 10,000 are aged 55 and older, she said.

Labour leaders were more encouraged after their call for a minimum 25 per cent of jobs for apprentices on publicly funded construction projects.

Lee Loftus, president of the B.C. Building Trades, said unionized contractors have the 25 per cent rule in their collective agreements and fund apprenticeship training. But with the majority of construction now done by non-union companies, there are no quotas for apprentice positions.

Clark said BC Hydro has adopted the 25 per cent standard for the Site C dam project, but other large public infrastructure projects include federal funds. Ottawa wants apprenticeships to be voluntary for those projects, but Clark said she supports the idea in principle.

“If we’re spending this money on public projects anyway, we should be investing in apprenticeships and getting people up the ladder so they can earn more money and go and work in what we know is going to be a huge industry, in liquefied natural gas,” Clark said.

Lanzinger said the B.C. Fed has received little response from the government on its other long-standing issue, the lack of union successorship rights in health care.

A change in contractors triggered layoff notices to 240 Hospital Employees’ Union members this week at Laurel Place, a Surrey long-term care facility.

A contract change for Vancouver Coastal Health cleaning staff has triggered layoff of 935 staff effective this summer.

Lanzinger said the B.C. government’s 2002 exemption of public employers and publicly subsidized private employers from union successorship provisions in the Labour Code has resulted in many contract changes with workers laid off and rehired. The practice is designed to drive down wages and benefits for employees making little more than minimum wages, she said.

 

Just Posted

Team Canada athlete pens open letter to City of Victoria about Crystal Pool

Karmen McNamara says an extended closure of the recreation facility would be ‘devastating’

Bluegrass Christmas concert sparks season of giving

Tenth annual show and fundraiser held on Dec. 1 at Cordova Bay United Church

Victoria’s Wild ARC facility welcomes new roof thanks to a rush of donations

The animal rehabilitation centre was in desperate need of repairs after 21 years

Victoria’s vacancy rate predicted to rise above one per cent

Rental rates will continue to rise, despite more availability

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo appearances in superhero movies

Feds dropped ball with WWI anniversary tributes: historians

Wrote one historian: ‘Other than the Vimy Ridge celebration … I think they have done a very bad job’

Sides ‘far apart’ in Canada Post talks despite mediation, says union

The lack of a breakthrough means rotating strikes will resume Tuesday

Feds’ appeal of solitary confinement decision in B.C. to be heard

Judge ruled in January that indefinite such confinement is unconstitutional, causes permanent harm

B.C. health care payroll tax approved, takes effect Jan. 1

Employers calculating cost, including property taxes increases

Nunavut urges new plan to deal with too many polar bears

Territory recommends a proposal that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking

Shelter struggles: Landlord takes over rental unit whenever visiting B.C. town

Renter’s story highlights how hard it is to find accommodation in Revelstoke

Lack of public response threatens B.C. referendum credibility

Of the few who have voted, poll finds most rejected proportional representation

Tentative deal reached in NHL concussion lawsuit

More than 100 former players accused the league of failing to better prevent head trauma

Most Read