Williams Lake RCMP feeling impact of strike inspector says

Police services continue to be affected by the strike of city union workers Williams Lake.

Police services continue to be affected by what is now a week-long strike by city union workers in Williams Lake, said RCMP Insp. Warren Brown.

Around 110 employes, members of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 882B, began strike action on Saturday afternoon Feb. 16.

Picket lines went down and workers returned to work Monday. After talks broke down between the city and union, and the union left the table, workers began a full-blown strike at noon.

Normally six civilian clerks work at the RCMP detachment.

Under essential service levels, one watch clerk is being kept on day shift, seven days a week.

Brown said the front counter will remain closed over the weekend, but will be open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.

“The strike has had a very significant impact on the administration and records management at the detachment. This increases the pressure on all other employees and may deter the police presence on the streets should the strike linger.”

All calls for service continued to be routed through Prince George and residents should be prepared for longer wait times for less serious offences such as thefts, hits and runs.

The city warns residents there may also be longer wait times for less serious offences (thefts, hit and runs, etc.), however residents will still be able to talk to local police officers at the RCMP station, but there will likely be delays in this process.

Picketers at the Cariboo Memorial Complex Friday afternoon milled around a fire barrel. Some said they hoped the strike doesn’t last too much longer.

Others said they wished they were at work because they were used to working.

Many cars going by honked in support, and strikers said for the most part feedback has been positive.

Other city-run facilities include the fire hall and the airport.

Friday afternoon the city posted a fact sheet on its website, responding to comments made by the union to the Tribune Thursday about the ice in the rink.