01/21/2013 10:38 EST | Updated 03/23/2013 05:12 EDT

LifeLabs medical centres begin rotating strikes across B.C.

B.C.'s unionized LifeLabs staff and medical laboratory workers are going on strike Monday after mediated contract talks broke down over the weekend.

More than 700 members of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union are set to take part in the strike, which will affect patient lab-service centres in Metro Vancouver, Sechelt, Nelson, and on Vancouver Island.

The BCGEU posted a detailed schedule of the 40 labs that will be closed either part of, or all of Monday and Tuesday. One lab in Victoria will also be closed Wednesday.

BCGEU president Darryl Walker said wages and a push for workers to fund their own long-term disability benefits are two of the main issues that were being negotiated at the Labour Relations Board on Saturday, before talks broke down.

"It's just not acceptable. We're already three per cent behind what folks doing the same work for BC Biomedical are making, so we're simply trying to catch up and maintain cost of living as we go forward," he said.

The BCGEU notes on the online strike announcement that, last week, LifeLabs announced its intention to purchase BC Biomedical Laboratories. The purchase price would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, it said.