Company remains willing to meet with union
SURREY, BC, Sept. 14 /CNW/ - In preparation for possible job action by the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union (COPE), Local 378, Terasen Gas (TSX:FTS) has filed an Essential Services Application with the Labour Relations Board.
COPE served Terasen Gas with 72-hour strike notice on September 14, 2007. Union members participated in a strike vote on September 13, 2007 and the union informed the company today that a strike mandate has passed. COPE 378 represents 465 Terasen Gas employees working primarily in office and professional positions.
Terasen Gas is committed to resolve this dispute through the collective bargaining process and hopes to resume negotiations with the COPE as quickly as possible. However, in the event of a work stoppage by COPE, Terasen plans to respond to any natural gas emergencies using management and essential service personnel.
Essential services are those that the Labour Relations Board of B.C. considers necessary or essential to prevent immediate and serious danger to the health, safety or welfare of the residents of British Columbia.
The company remains focused on ensuring the continued safety of its operations and the reliability of supply to Terasen Gas customers. Until the essential services designation is awarded, no strike action can legally occur.
Terasen Gas has been in ongoing negotiations with COPE 378 since February 2007 in an effort to reach a new collective agreement. Terasen Gas' most recent offer included a wage increase of 14.8 per cent compounded over five years and an increase in benefits of 5.3 per cent. COPE 378 would be the third group at Terasen Gas to move toward flexible benefits. Terasen Gas has not experienced a labour disruption in 18 years.
Terasen Gas is mainly composed of the operations of Terasen Gas Inc. and Terasen Gas (Vancouver Island) Inc., both indirect wholly owned subsidiaries of Fortis Inc. Fortis Inc., the largest investor-owned distribution utility in Canada, serves almost two million gas and electric customers and has approximately $10 billion of assets. Its regulated holdings include Terasen Gas and electric utilities in five Canadian provinces and three Caribbean countries. Fortis Inc. owns non-regulated hydroelectric generation assets across Canada and in Belize and upper New York State. It also owns hotels and commercial real estate in Canada. Fortis Inc. shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and trade under the symbol FTS. Additional information can be accessed at www.fortisinc.com or www.sedar.com.