Canada: Government Employees Union Calls for Halt of Liquor in Grocery Stores
By Anita Sthankiya
October 29, 2015
The BC Government Employees’ Services Union (BCGEU) is calling on the provincial government to immediately halt plans to sell liquor in grocery stores for at least six months.
The request for moratorium was sent to Premier Christy Clark from BCGEU president Stephanie Smith this week. In the letter, the union, which represents nearly 4,000 employees of the Liquor Distribution Branch, outlines numerous concerns about the privatization of liquor sales.
Union concerns include the sale of alcohol to minors, as employees may not be experienced about rules around legal drinking age, ID, and how to identify false ID. Another concern is the ease of shoplifting from a large grocery store, and there is concern that alcohol sales may eventually expand beyond wine, cider, and sake, which may violate international trade obligations.
“The loss of public revenue from reduced sales at BC Liquor Stores is also worrying. Those revenues pay for health, social services, education, and other public services. We’ll be very disappointed if privatization goes ahead as we’ve made a very strong case for keeping liquor sales public,” said Smith.
The BCGEU is pressing the government to use the six-month moratorium period to consider whether the privatization is in the best interest of all parties involved.