The Christy Clark government has announced that it wants to privatize the Liquor Distribution Branch's two warehouses by 2015.
According to a Ministry of Energy and Mines news release issued on budget day (February 21), the province will put out a request for proposals that would see the government-owned and operated warehouses in Vancouver and Kamloops sold off to the private sector.
"By privatizing the warehouses, the Province will realize a long-term capital gain, and create an opportunity for the private sector to find more efficient ways to distribute liquor in B.C.," the release states.
The LDB also runs 197 government liquor stores, which are not part of the privatization plan.
About 400 unionized staff work at the two LDB warehouses, which distribute about 55 percent of the liquor sold in B.C.
Meanwhile, the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union, which represents the workers, says it was "shocked" to hear the news.
In a news release today, the BCGEU claimed the 2012 budget shows the B.C. Liberals want to cut 2,000 public service jobs over the next three years.
“Today's budget is going to further undermine important public services that people rely on, eliminate thousands of good jobs, and will drive up B.C.’s unemployment rate which is already the highest in western Canada,” Darryl Walker, president of the BCGEU, said in the release. “This province needs an economic vision that provides opportunities for our young people, services for families and seniors, and that begins to close the widening income gap we see everyday. This budget does none of these things.”