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

Greyhound cleared to end routes in northern B.C., Vancouver Island

Company says nine routes have dropped 30% in ridership in last five years

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

BC BUDGET: Payroll tax replaces medical premiums

Health spending to increase $1.5 billion for drugs, primary care teams

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

VIDEO: What you need to know today at the B.C. Games

All 19 events are underway across Kamloops, where five to 10 cm of snow is expected to fall

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Maritimes want their own CFL team

Their biggest hurdle is getting a stadium commitment in place

Sask. school shooter to be sentenced as adult

The man was just shy of his 18th birthday when he killed four people and injured seven others

Internet questions PM’s fashion choices in India

The Trudeaus’ eight-day visit has been dogged by various controversies since it began Feb. 17

Adopted potbelly pig killed and eaten on Vancouver Island

Animal had been adopted out from the SPCA in Duncan; staff are devastated by news

WATCH: Walking from Argentina to Alaska one step at a time

Holly “Cargo” Harrison is in Williams Lake, resting a pulled hamstring before he continues on his 15,000-mile walk to Alaska.

BCHL Today: Merritt Centennials keep moving while Salmon Arm Silverbacks slide

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Former Canuck Roberto Luongo addresses Florida shooting victims

Parkland, Fla., resident, delivers speech before Florida Panthers’ first home game since tragedy

Most Read