BC Government and Public Service Union Reach Tentative Contractual Agreement

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The largest union representing public service workers in British Columbia said it has reached a tentative agreement with the province covering 33,000 of its members.

The British Columbia General Employees Union said in a statement that the proposed agreement with the British Columbia civil service agency was reached after nearly two weeks of limited action and more than seven months. of negotiations.

The union suspended limited industrial action last week as its bargaining committee resumed negotiations in what it called a “sign of good faith”.

The pressure action targeted certain distribution warehouses and left the shelves of liquor and cannabis stores empty of many products.

The union says the three-year deal would offer wage increases of between 10.74 and 12.99 percent.

The agreement also provides a one-time economic subsidy payment equivalent to $4 per hour for a period of 16 weeks for 20 job categories ranging from store clerks to machine operators.

It covers jobs in basic public services such as public safety, social services and environmental management. Those who work at the Liquor Distribution Branch, BC Pension Corp., Destination BC and the Royal BC Museum are also part of the contract.

Union members voted 95 percent in favor of the strike in June before calling a strike in mid-August.

BCGEU President Stephanie Smith said her members were clear that their top priorities were wage increases and wage protection.

“I’m proud of the work done by our committee and I’m proud of the solidarity our members have shown over the past eight months, especially the hundreds who walked the picket lines at liquor stores and cannabis and the thousands who refused overtime as part of our jobs action,” Smith said in a statement.

The union says the timing of a ratification vote will be confirmed in the coming days.

The British Columbia Ministry of Finance said in a statement Wednesday that the deal was reached under the so-called Shared Recovery Mandate.

The mandate was set by the New Democrat government with three main priorities: protecting government services, improving health care and supporting a strong and inclusive economic recovery.

The tentative agreement covers the first of several public sector unions to negotiate with the government this year.

Contracts expire in 2022 for more than two-thirds of BCGEU’s 85,000 members, including those working in community health and social services, post-secondary teachers and support staff, and health science professionals.

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