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

Volunteers risk their lives to save others

SAR training prepares them for the job

Many moving parts to economic development

Tourism is only part of the answer

Window art a sign of the season

B.C. artist paints windows across the province

Get all your stocking stuffers, and the stockings, too

Beta Sigma Phi Christmas Craft Sale returns

VIDEO: Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival

This year’s event featured six stops, including viewing points and activity centres.

Methadone treatment not as effective for mentally ill, homeless: study

SFU study suggests unstable housing makes it hard to stick to treatment regimen

Wet weather expected for much of coastal B.C.

The Weather Network is calling for up to 200mm of rain to fall in some areas of the South Coast and Vancouver Island

B.C. reporter reflects on covering Charles Manson

Charles Manson, leader of a murderous cult, died on Sunday at 83

Port Mann, Golden Ears traffic up since tolls removed: report

City staff report says congestion woes easing on Pattullo Bridge as a result

Convicted child sex offender’s sixth lawyer resigns before sentencing

One time school board candidate Corey Neyrinck case delayed in BC Supreme Court yet again

ICBC overbilling for crash repairs not the problem, dealers say

Collision repair shops reject union claim of inflated costs

TransLink mulls distance-based fares, low-income discounts

Metro Vancouver transit agency launches final phase of fare review

B.C. groups to address child sex abuse in sports

viaSport is organizing a full day of education in association with Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Coaching Association of Canada.

Most Read