On September 27, the BCGEU reached a tentative agreement with the B.C. government that sees gains for more than 25,000 members who work in direct government service province-wide.
As part of the agreement, the sale of Liquor Distribution Branch warehouses and the NRFP for privatization were cancelled.
The hard work of BCGEU and LDB members paid off and this important revenue producing agency remains intact.
In a bungled and surprise announcement, the provincial government announced in the Febraury 2012 budget that it is privatizing the LDB distribution system and selling-off of its warehouses. The LDB stores are certain to be sold next.
In the last five years, the liquor distribution and retail system contributed a net income of $4.3 billion to help pay for public services such as health, education and highways.
The mix of rural agency stores, privately operated neighbourhood stores and government liquor stores with consistent province-wide pricing, all supported by central distribution, works well for consumers.
The LDB system should not be fractured – the central distribution system and the stores must stay together in one system – it’s what makes it work.
In his review of government operations in Ontario, Don Drummond, former Chief Economist with the TD Bank, rejected the sell-off of the public Liquor Control Board of Ontario. Instead he called for the opening of additional public liquor stores and the full utilization of the LCBO’s purchasing power to improve profits and create additional government revenue. The same approach should be taken in B.C.
The BCGEU proposed Sunday openings for public liquor stores. This would bring in more than $100 million per year in additional provincial revenue.
The BCGEU also proposed the opening of new public liquor stores. Each new store would produce about $5 million in additional revenue per year. The government rejected both proposals.