(CP file photo)

The CRTC says the number of grievances it has received about Telus Corp. has tripled since the company's work stoppage began in July.

In August and September, more than 600 people complained about Telus to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. In the two months before the service disruption, complaints totalled about a third of that number.

Jessica Maurer of New Westminster has been waiting two months for Telus to hook up her home phone and says the experience has been frustrating – and expensive.

She's having to use her cellphone, and that has added about $400 to her recent bills.

Managers have been trying to fill orders, but Maurer says no one seems to be able to tell her when someone will connect her phone.

"We've spent countless hours on hold trying to get all these issues resolved."

Lindsay Meredith, a business professor at Simon Fraser University, says that in the competitive world of telecommunications, complaints could harm Telus down the road.

"If you lose your customer base, you can get a high defection rate. Once they defect, getting them back is not all that easy."

Advances in technology have resulted in increased competition for the large telecommunications firms as subscribers consider switching to such things as computer (voice over Internet protocol) phone services.

Analysts say the prolonged dispute could also cause the company to delay strategic initiatives. Telus has already postponed the rollout of TV service because of the work stoppage.

Telus employees remain on the picket line after 50.3 per cent of the 9,027 Telecommunications Workers Union members who voted turned down a proposed contract deal on Oct. 30.

The agreement would apply to 13,700 workers in Alberta and British Columbia.

Telus claims that 60 per cent of the workers in Alberta have decided to cross the picket lines.

Workers in the two provinces walked out July 21, the day before Telus was going to impose a contract that would have eliminated several restrictions on the contracting out of their work. The company responded to the walkout by locking out the workers.