For the second time in less than a month, government employees were back on the picket lines around the province and in the Tri-Cities.
This time, 1,500 ICBC unionized workers with the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, Local 378 took their turn on the line Tuesday in a one-day strike.
The Coquitlam Claim Centre was open Tuesday with essential staff, but several dozen employees were striking outside the facility all day.
Nancy Baron, an injury adjuster in ICBC's litigation unit, told The NOW the workers are striking for better wages and working conditions, noting the union has been without a contract for two years, and without a raise for even longer.
The union is essentially looking for a wage increase that would offset inflation.
She said it's important to let the public know the workers haven't had a contract, while also sending a message to the corporation employees want the contract settled.
Baron, a 20-year ICBC employee, said she really wants to get back to her job, which is handling claims for people who are at their worst moments when they come through the doors.
"That's when they need us," she said, adding staff at the claim centre are very experienced. "You pay your premium, you don't need us until you have a claim."
Jeannie Johnson is an office assistant also at the Blue Mountain Street claim centre.
She's worked for the Crown corporation for 22 years, and suggested the majority of the public support the employees' effort.
"We're not asking for anything extraordinary, we're just asking for cost of living," she said.
Both employees noted plenty of support from unions and the public on Tuesday out front of the centre. In all, pickets went up at 55 claim offices around the province.
Prior to the strike, the public was being warned of delays at the claim centre due to the work stoppage. On Sept. 5, roughly 27,000 BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) workers walked off the job for one day around the province to send a message to the provincial government.
BCGEU employees in the Tri-Cities joined in the strike, which led to the closure of BC Liquor stores.
© Copyright 2013