Picket lines in Victoria Tuesday instructed union members not to go to work and attend a rally at B.C. Legislature in support of striking teachers instead.

Picket lines in Victoria Tuesday instructed union members not to go to work and attend a rally at B.C. Legislature in support of striking teachers instead.

Government office pickets ‘harassment’

Cabinet minister takes issue with tactics of teachers' union pickets

  • Mar. 8, 2012 6:00 p.m.

The B.C. government sought a ruling from the Labour Relations Board Tuesday as teachers and other union members spread their protest to picket lines at government offices.

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon said Tuesday the pickets were illegal and represent “harassment and intimidation” of government workers who are not in a legal strike position and expected to report to work.

Falcon said the government’s application would seek fines for people who continued the pickets.

Provincial government workers were met with picket lines at offices around Victoria Tuesday morning, and advised to attend a rally in support of striking teachers at the legislature instead of going to work.

One Victoria office worker told Black Press she was threatened with a fine or expulsion from the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union if she crossed the picket line to go to work.

Pickets wore B.C. Teachers Federation signs or hand-lettered signs bearing the B.C. Federation of Labour logo. They handed out leaflets to office workers with a BCGEU logo and instructions to report to a local community centre to sign up for strike pay.

“Don’t join the picket line. Do not put on a picket sign,” the leaflets instructed. “Leave the worksite.”

Office workers were instructed that if they did not attend the Ambrosia Centre, a downtown conference facility, they would not receive strike pay. “It is important that we show solidarity with members of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation,” the leaflets say.

The pickets were to direct union members to join a rally of teachers and other union members from around the province to march on the legislature at noon Tuesday.

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