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Second week of Emterra strike with no end in site

July 03, 2015 - 9:00 PM

KAMLOOPS – After four months of talks and two weeks of strike aciton, Emterra Environmental and its Steelworkers Union employees appear no closer to ending their labour dispute than when they began.

Union head Marty Gibbons is currently in Langley bargaining on behalf of airport screeners.

“Trust me; it’s going much better,” he says in comparing his current situation with the recycling sorters strike.

A frustrated Gibbons says the company will not agree to pay increases at all while the union will not back down until its workers receive what it calls a living wage. This has forced the two sides into a stalemate.

He says the company 'has made no effort to disclose its financials' yet has 'cried poverty,' telling the union they are unable to afford the wage increases.

“It is a requirement under the law (to disclose financial records) if they say they’re unable to pay.”

The union does not want to inconvenience people, Gibbons says. His advice to disgruntled residents is to complain to city council.

“Call the city council. The city has a contract and Emterra is in breach of that contract.”

Emterra Environmental currently has a contract with Kamloops to sort its recycling. City wide collection stopped when the strike began and the city’s four recycling depots have closed. Residents have been asked to take all recycling to locations like General Grant’s or Lorne Street Bottle Depot, or store it until the strike is over.

General Grant’s recycling depot North Shore owner and Sahali part-owner, Richard Robertson says his company is just 'stacking (recycling) a little higher and a little wider.'

“We’ve seen a 50 to 75 per cent increase in what we’re doing,” he says of business following the city stopping recycle pick-up.

Robertson says residents have told him they're just throwing their recycling in the garbage instead, and as a result his company is not actually overwhelmed because the strike.

For those who do want to bring in their recycling, Robertson asks larger quantities go to his Sahali location because it is considerably larger than his North Shore location.

Emterre Environmental has said it believes in competitive compensation and encourages the union to continue meaningful bargaining. The company has said it is 'determined to resolve the current labour disruption as quickly, respectfully, and peacefully as possible.'

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dana Reynolds at dreynolds@infonews.ca or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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