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.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Mountain Pineapple defers application for new cannabis store in Rossland

The application was originally going to be reviewed by city council on May 19

Morning start: Rossland is named after this person

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Friday, May 22

Snow expected to hit West Kootenay passes overnight on Thursday

Up to 15 cm of snow could fall on Highway 3 between Paulson summit to Kootenay Pass by Friday morning

Fact: B.C. bats don’t carry or spread COVID

BC Annual Bat Count goes this summer, citizens encouraged to take part

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Most Read