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Strike begins at 5 Metro Vancouver wastewater treatment plants

Picket lines have been set up at the plants in Richmond, North Vancouver, Annacis Island and Langley.

Union members at Metro Vancouver’s five wastewater treatment plants are on strike as of Monday morning.

The Greater Vancouver Regional District Employees’ Union (GVRDEU) - which represents more than 600 members, announced workers at the plants in Richmond (Iona island and Lulu Island), North Vancouver, Annacis Island and Langley - said its members stopped working today at 5:30 a.m.

The union said its members are on strike for better pay and benefits and picket lines have been set up at all five treatment plants.

In a bulletin to its members, the union said that it “(strongly cautions) members not to undertake any job action that is not sanctioned by the union executive.”

Some members, added the union, will be working at sites to maintain essential services.

Sandra Jansen, general manager of external relations at Metro Vancouver, said Metro Vancouver is "committed to reaching a fair and reasonable collective agreement" with union members despite the "unfortunate" escalation of the job action.

"We are seeking to create more union jobs and a reduction in contracting work out, with no impact to existing staff, said Jansen.

"By mutual agreement, we're prepared to provide more flexible work hours."

Jansen told the Richmond News an offer of 11.5 per cent wage increase over three years was made to employees including a one-time lump sum of $2,350 and other "improvements to allowances and benefits."

She described the offer as "fair and reasonable."

Negotiations at the bargaining table between Metro Vancouver and the GVRDEU will return on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the City of Richmond said the city has "not been advised of any impact" to the service for Richmond residents at this time.

The News has also reached out to the union for further comment.,

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