With a public service strike in B.C. entering its 13th day, a new survey says 80 per cent 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 focused on how the ongoing BCGEU strike at four Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) warehouses is affecting the industry.
BCGEU talks resume as other unions line up
Last week, the BCGEU set up picket lines outside thwhilee distribution warehouses. And this week, it began banning overtime to pressure the province, while demanding wage increases and improved benefits.
ABLE BC says from Aug. 22-26, it asked 400 industry members about the first week of the strike, and the impact it had. Those members included pubs, bars, nightclubs, restaurants, private liquor stores, craft brewers, wineries, distilleries, and import agents across the province.
“This dispute is between the BCGEU and government, but it’s hurting us,” said Jeff Guignard, executive director of ABLE BC. “We’re only two weeks into this strike, and already businesses are starting to lay off workers and look at shutting their doors.
“They’re worried about the future of their businesses and the people they employ. This must stop before it gets worse.”
Hospitality and tourism businesses urge end to BCGEU strike in open letter
ABLE BC said its survey followed an open letter earlier in the week, asking the BCGEU and provincial government to quickly end the strike. That letter was signed by 19 of the province’s largest liquor, hospitality, tourism, and business associations.
That open letter can be viewed online.
B.C. hospitality and tourism businesses urge end to job action
ABLE BC also said its survey found that:
- 50 per cent reported at least 25 per cent of their inventory is already out of stock
- 21 per cent have lost at least $20,000 of profit
- 55 per cent have lost at least $5,000
- 20 per cent have reduced staff hours
- 6 per cent have already laid off staff
- A further 30 per cent indicate they expect to lay off staff if the strike continues
BCGEU escalates job action after strike enters second week
According to ABLE BC, the province’s liquor industry contributes $15 billion to the economy, generates $1.2 billion of direct revenue for the provincial government, and sustains 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,” said Guignard. “We’re relieved that both sides are back at the negotiating table, but we need them to hammer out a deal now to prevent further harm to our industry.”
Cannabis industry fears shortages amid BCGEU job action
Four days after the strike started, B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association president Ian Tostenson told Global News that the alcohol shortage comes as the sector is battling inflation while still recovering from pandemic restrictions.
“We have no access to product. The product in the system now is the only product available. We’re against the ropes,” he said.
“Most restaurants will be starting to show shortages as early as next week. We already missed one order period this week and we’ll likely miss one next week too.”
Alcohol slowly running dry for service industry after BCGEU strike
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