Despite news on Thursday of an impasse in public sector bargaining between the provincial government and its direct employees over wages, the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA) is preparing to table a wage proposal for health science professionals next week that addresses staff shortages, the rising cost of living, and closes the wage gap between B.C. and other provinces.
BCGEU, the union representing direct government employees, announced yesterday that after nine weeks of talks it will take a break from bargaining to focus on negotiating essential services levels required to keep necessary government services running in the event of a strike or lockout, and preparing to take a strike vote to back contract demands. The break in bargaining was precipitated by the failure of the government to table a wage package that protects government workers from the skyrocketing cost of living in British Columbia.
HSPBA’s bargaining committee, which has been in active contract negotiations with HEABC since March 28, is scheduled to pause for a break at the end of next week. The Bargaining Committee has to date made proposals addressing a number of priorities identified by members. These include occupational health and safety matters related to workload, discrimination and harassment, facilitation of health sector-wide action on OHS issues, and classification proposals addressing concerns with employer-wide initiatives.
The Bargaining Committee is also committed to changes that address colonial features of the collective agreement. In the current round of talks, the Bargaining Committee is tabling equity and inclusion initiatives as well as removing colonial language.
CUPE, along with the other unions covered by HSPBA, has been actively negotiating essential services levels since January. We are also watching developments at other public sector bargaining tables closely, as a number of public sector agreements expired on March 31, 2022.
CUPE continues to work in close collaboration with our allies in other unions to achieve fair contracts for all workers who have been on the frontlines of protecting and serving British Columbians through the COVID-19 pandemic, and the opioid and climate catastrophes.
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