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LifeLabs and union reach tentative three-year agreement; job action suspended

LifeLabs and the union representing its workers have reached a tentative three-year agreement, the parties announced Sunday. Details will be presented Monday to union members, followed by a vote, the B.C. General Employees’ Union said in a statement.
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A LifeLabs location on Victoria's Fort Street.

LifeLabs and the union representing its workers have reached a tentative three-year agreement, the parties announced Sunday.

Details will be presented Monday to union members, followed by a vote, the B.C. General Employees’ Union said in a statement.

The union’s ban on overtime and its work-to-rule campaign, which started Saturday, will not continue pending vote results, it said.

In July, members had voted 98% in support of a strike. “Our LifeLab members have shown solidarity and a willingness to fight to get the deal they deserve,” said BCGEU president Stephanie Smith.

The union was in a legal position to strike on Friday after issuing 72-hour strike notice on Wednesday.

It held a rally with about 200 union members attending in Burnaby to promote their position.

BCGEU represents 1,550 LifeLabs employees at 94 company locations. The union had voiced concerns about low wages and understaffing.

LifeLabs said in a statement, “We are pleased with the outcome and look forward to our continued partnership with the union.”

The agreement was reached this weekend following negotiations, LifeLabs said. The company had said it was prepared to continue talks on the weekend amid threats of job action.

LifeLabs is Canada’s largest community medical laboratory service.