Tentative contract reached with B.C. health care workers

Five-year contract includes pay hike, protects benefits

Facilities Bargaining Association (FBA) has reached a tentative settlement with B.C.’s health employers.

The multi-union association — representing 47,000 health care workers in hospitals, residential care facilities, emergency health services and logistics and supply operations across the province — reached the five-year agreement with the assistance of mediator Vince Ready.

The contract includes 5.5 per cent in general wage increases over the life of the agreement in addition to limiting contracting out, expanding employment options and protecting employee benefits. The agreement also includes provisions that address outstanding issues around paramedics’ pay scales.

The FBA bargaining committee unanimously recommended the agreement to its constituent unions and the provincial executive of the Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU) voted on May 15 to recommend ratification to its members. HEU represents a majority of the workers covered by the collective agreement.

Bonnie Pearson — secretary-business manager for the HEU and chief spokesperson for the FBA — said the 96 per cent strike mandate delivered by union members one month after the association’s contract expired on March 31 played a major part in securing the tentative deal.

“Health care workers signaled clearly that they were determined to protect jobs and improve working and caring conditions,” Pearson said. “This agreement meets those conditions and provides a measure of stability and certainty in a health care system that is under considerable stress.”

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