Oak Bay, police head for arbitration over pay

Timeline dependent on arbitrator schedules

The impasse between the Oak Bay Police Association and the Greater Victoria Labour Relations Board’s (on behalf of Oak Bay) will end in binding arbitration.

The Oak Bay police contract is one of a number of contracts under negotiation, says Kevin Murdoch, chair of the Greater Victoria Labour Relations Association.

“We’re governed under the fire police service collective,” he said. “That sets the framework of how we go through negotiations. When we’re apart we go to arbitration and that’s just part of that act.”

Municipal police contracts expire in a similar time frame and Vancouver as the largest department negotiates first and others follow that lead, said Sgt. Rob Smith, association president. This round, the Delta department went first and Vancouver didn’t agree with those numbers, so went to arbitration.

The two groups disagree on the interpretation of arbitrator Stan Lanyon’s decision in that case, which indicates local conditions be a consideration when setting police pay. It’s led to differing collective agreements throughout municipal police forces.

“It’s been a productive and respectful negotiation process so far,” Murdoch said. At the end of the day they’re separated by wages and length of the contract.

“In all my time here in Oak Bay we’ve never gone to arbitration,” Smith said.

“Were really just hoping for parity with our neighbouring police departments.”

It’s not only key to recruitment, but working alongside others in the CRD on files and regional units.

“It makes no sense to think that when you’re reworking alongside somebody, that their pay is not going to be the same as somebody else,” Smith said.

The collective agreement between the Oak Bay Police Board and the Oak Bay Police Association expired December 31, 2015.

Negotiations stalled, the two groups agreed just days ago that Lanyon would be an agreeable arbitrator, says Smith. The timeline is open however, as it relies on availability of an arbitrator.



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