Labour deal struck on BC Hydro $8.3B Site C project
By STAFF REPORTConstruction Infrastructure LEED Skills Development
Union, open, independent, native workers all included with no strike, no lockout clauses
The BC Building Trades and BC Hydro have secured an agreement on the importance of labour stability on the Site C Clean Energy Project, recognizing that stability is best achieved with a mix of labour representation that includes building trades unions, according to a joint release from the two organizations.
The framework allows the project to operate as a managed open site that includes participation from union and non-union workers as well as independent and First Nations contractors.
“This agreement ensures workers from all labour groups can build Site C together and paves the way for the labour stability that I believe British Columbians want as we undertake building the largest hydroelectric project in a generation,” said Jessica McDonald, President and CEO, BC Hydro.
“It allows for a managed open site and also takes important steps to ensure the BC Building Trades unions will take part in the construction along with all other B.C. workers.”
BC Hydro has agreed to place greater weight on bids with a mix of labour representation that includes the Building Trades unions. The BC Building Trades unions have waived the practice of signing Project Labour Agreements which restrict other non-affiliated organizations from working on site and the two parties have agreed to no strike, no lockout, and no raiding provisions, and no organizing on the main civil works component of the project.
“The agreement represents a compromise and reflects the desire of our members to work on the project at union wages and benefits while also respecting the mixed site model of the employer,” said Tom Sigurdson, executive director of the BC Building Trades.
“I am sure that we can get through the next steps and ensure this critical project will be built to the highest standards by British Columbians.”
The first test of the framework will come shortly as companies prepare to bid on the civil work, the largest section of the work on the dam involving extensive earth moving and clearing.
The $8.3 billion Site C Clean Energy Project is a third dam, reservoir and hydroelectric generating station on the Peace River, approximately 7 km southwest of Fort St. John in northeast B.C. Part of the project includes the realignment of six sections of Highway 29 over a distance of 30 km. The project is expected to create 10,000 direct jobs during construction. Approved by the Province of British Columbia on December 16, 2014, construction of the project is expected to begin in the summer of 2015 with completion estimated to be 2024.
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