Steelworkers Union headed to mediation

Strike action by the Kelowna branch of the United Steelworkers Union has been put on standby.

This past Friday, they served a 72 hour strike notice to the Interior Forest Labour Relations Association. A day later, both sides agreed to approach the labour board for mediation.

"We are booked to meet with a mediator here in Kelowna from the 14th to the 16th of November," says Kelowna Steelworkers President Pat McGregor. "When you're booked into mediation, there can be no lockout or strike action."

McGregor did not comment on what the Union's demands are, but he says he's confident that a reasonable agreement can be made.

"We're just looking for a fair deal for our members," he says. "The forestry industry has seen some really good times over the last few years, and we think that we've helped our companies get there. We would like a deal that reflects the efforts that our members put in."

The Union represents thousands of steelworkers across the province, including the 980 workers at the Tolko Industries Sawmill - one of the largest employers in Kelowna. Several rotating strikes have already begun in several parts of Northern BC.