Telus wins injunction against striking workers

Phone company Telus has won an injunction barring striking union members from blocking access to company premises.

Phone company Telus has won an injunction barring striking union members from blocking access to company premises in British Columbia.

The B.C. Supreme Court granted the injunction Friday, a day after the Telecommunications Workers Union (TWU) went on strike.

"This is a very broad and positive ruling that gives Telus the ability we need to ensure our team members can safely come to work and serve our customers," Audrey Ho, the company's vice-president of legal services, said in a statement Saturday.

The decision also bars the TWU from picketing at or near customers' premises, the company said.

On Saturday, police said that someone may have deliberately cut a cable to shut down telephone service in a B.C. town.

It was one of several incidents as tensions escalated over the strike by thousands of unionized workers who work for the country's second-biggest phone company in British Columbia and Alberta.

An RCMP spokesman said the force is investigating after the severed cable knocked out service to about 500 customers in Pritchard near Kamloops on Friday.

A Telus spokesman, Bruce Okabe, said another line had been cut on Vancouver Island, leaving about 150 people in Ladysmith without telephone service.

The TWU – which represents about 13,700 Telus employees, mainly in British Columbia and Alberta – said a picketing worker was sent to hospital on Friday after a contractor's vehicle ran into him.

Several thousand unionized Telus workers in the two provinces started putting up picket lines on Thursday, a day ahead of the company's planned deadline to impose a contract.

Contract talks between Telus and the TWU began nearly five years ago and have gone nowhere.

Telus had said on July 12 that it was going to implement its most recent offer to the TWU in an effort to end the dispute.

The company said that, as of July 22, the workers would be paid under the terms of a contract offer Telus made on April 13 and upgraded on June 14.

The union had previously rejected the offer and refused to put it to a vote, as Telus requested. "Since the company's offer was not negotiated with the union, it does not warrant a vote," the union said in a July 8 posting on its website.