Cabs

Smoother operations loom for Kelowna Cabs with word of a tentative new contract between the company and its eight unionized dispatchers.

A potential settlement has been reached involving a long-running dispute at Kelowna Cabs involving eight workers.

A tentative memorandum of agreement between the company and MoveUP, the union that represents the dispatchers, will be discussed at a meeting Thursday.

Key elements of the deal, which has an effective range of one-year, include an end to the employer's lock-out of its unionized members, the union's withdrawal of a complaint about unfair labour practices, and the end of a controversial bid to decertify the union.

As well, affected union members will get a $250 signing bonus if the memorandum of agreement is ratified. The proposed contract runs to the end of May 2022.

The last contract between the cab company and the MoveUP, which represents the dispatchers, expired more than two years ago. The taxi drivers are not unionized.

The company says the taxi business has been disrupted by the entry to the transportation market of ride-hailing services. It has attempted to replace the eight dispatchers with an app, and to contract their work overseas.

An aspect to the proposed new collective agreement is that the company can use external sources or technology for its dispatching operations provided that doing so does not affect the work of the unionized local employees.

To an existing list of banned sexual, psychological, and verbal harassments, the proposed agreement adds "racial harassment (which) results in an intimidating, humiliating, hostile, or offensive work environment".

In previous rulings on the  dispute, the Labour Relations Board said the company was negotiating in bad faith. The dispatchers have been unionized for 40 years.  They were locked out on Feb. 26.