The Beverage Licensees Alliance (ABLE BC) of British Columbia has announced that government-owned liquor stores in the province will begin to limit the amount of alcohol that customers, restaurants, and businesses can buy starting Friday morning. This is due to the strike by the British Columbia General Employees Union (BCGEU). Customers will be limited to buying no more than three individual items (or SKUs) per day, with the exception of beer. This restriction will remain in effect until the distribution centers of the British Columbia alcoholic beverage distribution branch resume operations. Ian Tostenson, President and CEO of the British Columbia Restaurant and Food Services Association, warned that everyone would run out of stock if both parties do not return to the negotiating table immediately.
The BCGEU represents some 33,000 provincial workers who went on strike on Monday, with wage protection being their main concern as inflation rises dramatically. The contract between the BCGEU and the Public Utilities Agency expired on April 1 and there have been sporadic talks since April 6, but the union rejected the agency's invitation to hold another meeting last week. The pickets at distribution centers have prevented alcohol and cannabis products from being distributed in stores for customers. While private liquor stores were not affected by the ban on working overtime, every legal cannabis dispensary in British Columbia was affected. It is important for both parties to come to an agreement soon in order to avoid further disruption. The rationing of alcohol in government-owned liquor stores is a sign of how serious this strike is and how it is affecting businesses and customers alike.
It is essential that both parties come together to find a solution that works for everyone.