by Ingrid Baetzel, Editor
Sept 21/19 – East Shore, Kootenay Lake: The “Overtime Ban” that is now effective for BCGEU employees on the Kootenay Lake Ferry was decided upon on September 16.
The first implementation of this ban is on Sept 21/19, resulting in the last ferry for the day leaving Kootenay Bay at 2pm and no further ferries sailing until the first ferry on Sunday, Sept 22/19. The union states on their Save Our Service website (ferries.bcgeu.ca), “due to staffing shortages, we are unable to meet safe sailing requirements” during this time and would be discontinuing service for the final six sailing of the day.
Mainstreet, in discussion with West Kootenay Area Office BCGEU representative, Mike Fenton, and lower mainland BCGEU Communications Officer, Jocelyn Wagner, learned that the website listed above will have the latest ferry status posted regularly and that they “aim to update this daily about the next day’s sailings and give as much notice as we can to the community.”
Regarding public confusion about the language in prior notices and posts, Fenton clarified as follows: “The overtime restriction is in place now and until further notice. We will only use overtime when it is necessary to perform those three mandatory sailings (from Balfour at 6:30am, 8:10am and 4:30pm). Anytime we can staff the vessel without overtime, it will be in full operation.” This seems to imply that the MV Osprey will run as usual, and, if overtime is necessary, where normally they simply wouldn’t run at all in an overtime ban, they are going to still operate three sailings daily as per the essential service order by the Labour Relations Board.
Mainstreet has asked for early and regular notices about those restricted service days and hopes that the union will deliver on getting the word out to assist East Shore residents in planning around travel.
UPDATE: As of 1pm on Saturday, Sept 21/10: PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE WILL BE NO RETURN FERRY TO THE EAST SHORE AFTER THE 1:10 FERRY FROM BALFOUR SATURDAY AFTERNOON, AND SUNDAY AFTERNOON.
The 2pm ferry on both Saturday and Sunday, Sept 21/22, 2019 will be the final sailing from Kootenay Bay. Monday’s (Sept 23) service is yet unknown.
Please plan accordingly.