Following more than seven months of negotiations and a historic job action that lasted almost two weeks, the BC General Employees’ Union’s (BCGEU) public service bargaining committee has reached a tentative agreement with the provincial government’s B.C.’s Public Service Agency (PSA).
This agreement covers 33,000 bargaining unit members working in direct government service.
“The members of this bargaining unit have been clear from the day we started preparing for bargaining last fall that their top priorities were wage increases and meaningful wage protections and our committee took that message to the PSA,” said Stephanie Smith, president of the BCGEU and chair of the bargaining committee.
“The 95% strike vote we got in June and actioned in August was our members’ response to an offer that showed their employer had not gotten the message. After almost two weeks of job action and nine consecutive days at the table, enough progress was made that the committee decided it was time to let our members see what’s on offer and have their say.”
The PSA invited the BCGEU back to the bargaining table in late August — more than five weeks after talks broke down in July – where both parties spent nine straight days at the table to reach a deal.
“Bargaining is never easy and this has been a long and challenging round,” said Smith.
“I’m proud of the work our committee has done and I’m proud of the solidarity our members have shown over the last eight months — especially the hundreds who walked picket lines at liquor and cannabis locations and the thousands who refused much-needed over-time as part of our job action.”
This tentative agreement is the result of almost a year of work by the BCGEU’s bargaining committee and members of the bargaining unit.
Last fall, the union conducted the most extensive consultation for public service negotiations in BCGEU history.
Our members told us that they wanted a contract that offered wage increases and wage protections that address rising costs and that recognized the critical importance of robust public services and the workers that provide them.
Here are the highlights from the agreement: Public Service tentative agreement highlights