A B.C.-based medical lab company closed half its patient service centres while employees went on rotating strikes around the province this week.
On Monday, LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services closed 40 of its 80 patient services centres, including the Burnaby location on Gilmore Avenue, as the B.C. Government and Service Employee's Union began two days of strike action.
The union says negotiations with the employer broke down after a meeting with a mediator on Saturday.
"We do want to get back to the bargaining table as quickly as possible, but we just can't accept the offer that's presently on the table," said union communications officer Karen Tankard. "So, LifeLabs has got to come back with something more."
LifeLabs is offering its 709 employees within the union a four per cent increase over three years, which the union says is inadequate for the cost of living in Vancouver.
"All they want is something fair and reasonable so they're not falling behind with inflation," Tankard said.
The last raise employees had was a one per cent increase on Jan. 1, 2011.
The employer says the current contract offer is "competitive in the marketplace," according to a report on the LifeLabs website, which compares the Hospital Employees' Union's recent collective agreement of a three per cent wage increase over two years.
The LifeLabs sites that were closed during the strike on Monday and Tuesday will resume normal operations as of Wednesday, but more sites will close throughout the province as the rotating strike continues.
This will not affect any further locations in Burnaby.
LifeLabs testing facilities in Victoria and Burnaby will also continue full service this week and report results without delay, according to a report on the company's website.
For a list of labs closed on Jan. 23 and 24, visit www.lifelabs.com.
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