Vancity refutes BCGEU’s allegations that layoffs violated labour law

Editor’s note: the story has been updated from a previous version to include Vancity’s response.

The union representing a number of employees who have been let go at Vancity Credit Union says the layoffs violated labour law, but Vancity tells CityNews this is incorrect.

Roughly 30 of the 200 employees subject to this week’s layoff notices belong to the BCGEU, which claims the credit union violated the law by not giving the union a heads-up about the layoffs.

But Vancity says this is false.

“As required by the BC Labour Relations Code and the Collective Agreement between Vancity and BCGEU, the Union was provided with formal 60-days’ notice of the change. Every affected employee who is a member of the BCGEU (30 people) was provided 60-days working notice,” Vancity said in a statement to CityNews.

“Vancity is meeting all of the requirements under employment standards and labour laws regarding layoffs.”

In a news release earlier this week, Vancity cited market conditions as a reason for the layoffs, but union president Paul Finch questions this.

“I don’t think that the current market conditions were a surprise,” he said.

“I think that Vancity has been slow to adapt to those conditions. And again, it shouldn’t be our members that suffer as a result of that.”

Credit unions bring unique advantages to the province, which Vancity should have leveraged, Finch says. Instead, he says, Vancity’s approach has been both frustrating and surprising.

“They’re touted as being committed to the community,” he said.

“They’re always touting themselves as one of the best employers in Canada. Well, they certainly tried to establish that as their branding. But I think that wouldn’t be the experience of of their employees, in particular our members that work there.”

Finch also fears the layoffs will result in longer waits to get service. However, Vancity says the changes do not affect member services.

Vancity announced the layoffs Thursday, saying 200 employees — representing about seven per cent of its workforce — were being let go as part of a restructuring.

Vancity says no branches are closing.

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