BCGEU reaches tentative agreement in B.C. public service bargaining

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VICTORIA, BC : 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.”

Here are the highlights from the agreement: 
Term: A three year agreement – April 1, 2022 – March 31, 2025
General Wage Increases:
Year 1 – Effective April 1, 2022 increase all rates of pay by 25 cents per hour and then increase all rates of pay by 3.24%.
Year 2 – Effective April 1, 2023 increase rates of pay by the annualized average of BC CPI over 12 months starting on March 1, 2022 to a minimum of 5.5% and a maximum of 6.75%.
Year 3 – Effective April 1, 2024 increase rates of pay by the annualized average of BC CPI over 12 months starting on March 1, 2023 to a minimum of 2% and a maximum of 3%.

Timelines for the ratification vote will be confirmed in the coming days.

The BCGEU’s 33,000 member public service bargaining unit was the first of many public sector unions to bargain with the government in 2022. In total, more than two-thirds of the BCGEU’s 85,000 members will be engaged in public sector bargaining this year.