The service departments at three GAIN Group car dealerships on the Island were behind picket lines Friday as members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers hit the streets protesting wages.
The strike affected Three Point Motors in Victoria, Subaru Nanaimo and Mercedes-Benz Nanaimo.
John Humphrey of IAM Local 456 said the 60 workers have been without a contract since the end of August and are seeking parity with mechanics at other Island shops. “We are looking for competitive wages,” said Humphrey.
He said some of the mechanics in question are at the bottom of the wage scale compared with others he represents at automotive shops around the Island.
The company has been stalling about getting back to the bargaining table, Humphrey said.
GAIN said it was surprised to see a picket line as talks have been scheduled for next week.
Chris Silveira, general manager of Three Point Motors Victoria, said they have had to cancel service appointments as a result, but it has not yet affected sales.
The strike affects 32 employees in Victoria.
A statement from the GAIN Group said the company’s technicians and other employees “currently receive some of the highest wages, RRSPs and benefits of any dealership on the Island in addition to money for work boots and tools, comprehensive health and dental benefits and guaranteed hours of pay per week. They are also comparable to the top dealerships in Vancouver.”
GAIN said the wage increases sought by the union are as high as 33 per cent in the first year and that increased labour costs would result in increased costs to customers.