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Industry groups representing hospitality, tourism and liquor businesses in British Columbia are urging the B.C. General Employees’ Union and the government to reach a swift deal to end the union’s job action.

The B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association says in an open letter to Premier John Horgan and union president Stephanie Smith that businesses and workers can’t afford for the job action to continue.

The letter signed by 19 stakeholder groups says they are relieved both sides are returning to the bargaining table, with businesses suffering product shortages and severe revenue impacts since the job action began last week.

The Retail Cannabis Council of BC and the BC Craft Farmers Co-op have meanwhile written to Horgan calling for cannabis delivery to be declared an essential service, or for businesses to be allowed to buy from outside the province during the job action.

On Tuesday, the union said it had accepted the government’s invitation to resume talks as it fights for wage protection against inflation as well as mental health supports.

The union says the resumption of talks, which went off the rails last spring, is the result of pressure from employees who set up pickets around liquor distribution centres last week before imposing an overtime ban this week.

The Public Service Agency says no negative impacts of the overtime ban have been reported so far, but essential-service requirements are in place for positions involving children and families as well as mental health and corrections.

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