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Dispatched to a fire? You should be paid a lunch break - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)

You are receiving this email as a BCGEU member working for the BC Wildfire Service. Please forward to your colleagues who are dispatched to fires.

Did you know? If you are dispatched to a fire, you are entitled to a paid lunch break.

Recently, through expedited arbitration, your fellow BCGEU members working for the BC Wildfire Service in the Lower Mainland successfully won a group grievance which clarified that wildfire fighters are entitled to a paid lunch break while dispatched to a wildfire.

Until this decision, it was common practice for your employer to deny this paid break despite it being your entitlement as per Article 16.2 of the 18th Main Public Service Agreement and Article 7.7 (b) of the 18th Component Agreement for the Environmental, Technical and Operational Component.

According to the arbitrator's decision (attached), you do not require prior authorization or approval to not take or to work through your scheduled meal period – you are automatically entitled to paid lunch breaks if you are subject to recall during your lunch break.

Our union expects all wildfire members to claim overtime when it is worked. To do so, members should submit to the employer, through the appropriate supervisor (ZWCO or RWCO), a pre-filled No Lunch Taken (No Clear 8) form (attached) alongside your manifest upon departure. If the employer denies your request, you should initiate a grievance with the assistance of your steward.

If you have any questions about this, or have concerns about your collective agreement not being upheld elsewhere, please connect with your steward or local area staff rep.

In solidarity,

Sebastian Kallos, Local 2003 Chair
Lisa Langevin, Staff Representative