It's been a busy few months since we held the Public Service Bargaining Conference in November. The union is continuing to prepare for public service bargaining, which is expected to begin in 2018. While the current collective agreement expires in the spring of 2019, the union is preparing for negotiations to start this year.
A number of issues have surfaced that require our attention and we have a unique opportunity, with a new government, to achieve progress for our members at the bargaining table.
We have a number of priorities – from securing real wage and benefit increases for members, to providing culturally appropriate services for families, ensuring adequate public service staffing levels and enhancing environmental protections.
We conducted a review of more than 2,500 bargaining surveys in November and have identified public service members' top bargaining priorities:
1. Wages – a general wage increase and measures to address recruitment and retention.
2. Better benefits – addressing unilateral changes to member benefits, as well as improvements to extended health, dental, massage, counselling, chiropractic, naturopathy, psychology, medical equipment, acupuncture and vaccines.
3. Work hours – including flex time, four-day work week and telework.
4. Staffing shortages – including the lack of training opportunities.
5. Workload – including the impact of work-related stress and burnout on members' health outcomes.
6. Improving services to the public.
Component executives have also engaged members with a call for proposals to improve individual component agreements. The Public Service Bargaining Committee will meet next month to review component bargaining priorities, which will form part of the union's negotiation package in the upcoming round of bargaining.
The union will be prepared and ready to begin negotiations whenever we receive notice from the provincial government.
This is the first in a series of bargaining updates. We want to make sure all members receive union bargaining notices. If your co-worker did not get this email, please encourage them to register online through the BCGEU member portal (https://my.bcgeu.ca/login) to receive important bargaining updates and union notices.
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