B.C. government service workers ratify agreement

Union dissatisfied with terms on professional fees

More than 64 per cent of members of the British Columbia Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) have voted in favour of accepting a new collective agreement, after more than one month of bargaining.

The two-year deal will expire on March 31, 2014, and includes a four per cent wage increase over the term of the contract, as well as increased job security, an increased vehicle and meal allowance and the withdrawal of the request for proposals to privatize liquor distribution.

To the frustration of the BCGEU, which represents 25,000 employees who work for the B.C. government, the issue of professional fees has not been resolved to its satisfaction, according to present Darryl Walker.

“We are concerned about the government’s stated position it could only reimburse our members up to the 2009 schedule for professional fees,” Walker said in a press release. “Last week, we learned the government agreed to pay the 2011-12 fees rate to another public service union. This difference will cost our members hundreds of dollars in fees annually. This deceit doesn’t bode well for a co-operative working relationship with government.”

The members under the agreement work in community social services, health sciences, post-secondary education and community health.

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