Survey of BC liquor and hospitality industries shows BCGEU strike ‘hurts’ them
As a civil service strike in British Columbia enters its 13th day, a new poll indicates that 80% of the province’s liquor and hospitality industries are worried about their viability.
On Saturday, the Alliance of Beverage Licensees (ABLE BC) released the survey, which looked at the impact of the ongoing BCGEU strike at four Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) warehouses on the industry.
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Last week, the BCGEU set up picket lines in front of three distribution warehouses. And this week he began banning overtime to pressure the province, while demanding wage increases and better benefits.
ABLE BC says that from August 22-26, it surveyed 400 industry members about the first week of the strike and the impact it had. These members included pubs, bars, nightclubs, restaurants, private liquor stores, craft brewers, wineries, distilleries and import agents throughout the province.
“This dispute is between BCGEU and the government, but it hurts us,” said Jeff Guignard, CEO of ABLE BC. “We are only two weeks away from this strike, and already companies are starting to lay off workers and are considering closing their doors.
“They worry about the future of their businesses and the people they employ. It needs to stop before it gets worse.
Hospitality and tourism companies urge an end to BCGEU strike in open letter
ABLE BC said its poll followed an open letter earlier in the week calling on the BCGEU and the provincial government to end the strike quickly. This letter was signed by 19 of the largest liquor, hospitality, tourism and business associations in the province.
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This open letter can be viewed online.
British Columbia hospitality and tourism companies call for end to workplace action
ABLE BC also said its investigation revealed that:
- 50% said at least 25% of their inventory was already out of stock
- 21% lost at least $20,000 in profit
- 55% lost at least $5,000
- 20% reduced their working hours
- 6% have already laid off staff
- A further 30% say they expect to lay off staff if the strike continues.
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According to ABLE BC, the province’s liquor industry contributes $15 billion to the economy, generates $1.2 billion in direct revenue for the provincial government and supports nearly 200,000 workers.
“Unions absolutely have the right to strike in support of their members, but this strike is now causing damage to an industry of 10,000 small businesses and 200,000 workers,” Guignard said. « We are relieved that both parties are back at the negotiating table, but we need them to reach an agreement now to avoid further harm to our industry. »
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Four days after the strike began, BC Restaurant and Food Services Association President Ian Tostenson told Global News the liquor shortage comes as the sector battles inflation while recovering from restrictions related to the pandemic.
“We don’t have access to the product. The product in the system is now the only product available. We are against the ropes,” he said.
“Most restaurants will start showing shortages as early as next week. We have already missed an order period this week and will probably miss one next week as well.
Alcohol is slowly running out for the service sector after the BCGEU strike
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