Naramata Centre shuts its doors during strike

Non-profit closes down after acknowledging replacement workers were illegal; events up to six weeks out cancelled

Some bookings at the Centre at Naramata have now been cancelled as a result of the ongoing labour dispute there.

Members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees went on strike May 15, but the facility was able to continue operating through the use of replacement workers.

CUPE later applied to the Labour Relations Board to have the replacement workers declared illegal, but prior to a formal hearing, the Centre’s management acknowledged it was in the wrong, then closed the doors Monday.

“We’ve currently ceased operations while we review what our options are,” said Jim Simpson, director of development and strategic partnerships.

He said events up to six weeks out, representing 2,800 person-nights at the Centre, have been cancelled, resulting in a major hit to revenue. Simpson said the options management are reviewing include shutting the facility for good or staying closed until a deal is reached with workers. CUPE national representative Tom O’Leary said the Centre, which is aligned with the United Church of Canada, should also consider a wholesale change of management.

“We didn’t want to see the Centre cease operations at all; we want it to see it managed properly,” he said. “Managed properly, it’s a great facility.”

O’Leary said no contract talks are scheduled and the workers are planning a rally at the venue on Saturday from 12-2 p.m. The Centre’s last offer to workers proposed contracting out six of 30 positions in a bid to reduce costs.