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Public service bargaining officially underway between BCGEU & B.C. government - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)

Negotiations for the 19th Main Public Service Agreement, which covers you and 31,500 other BCGEU members employed by the provincial government, officially kicked off yesterday morning.

Before your bargaining committee and the B.C. government's Public Service Agency (PSA) exchanged proposals, Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President and Chair of the BCGEU Public Service Bargaining Committee, provided these opening remarks:

"Through everything the last three years has thrown at them, the more than 30,000 BCGEU members covered by this agreement kept showing up to support the families and communities that rely on the services they provide."

"They've demonstrated commitment, resilience, and professionalism as the ground has shifted beneath their feet. And, most importantly, they've learned their value and grown their solidarity in preparation for this round of bargaining because they know the stakes have never been higher for them or for our province."
We also heard from Deputy Minister Bobbi Sadler who heads the PSA bargaining team who thanked members for the work of the public service through the pandemic, but indicated that government's ability to address wages are limited and expects negotiations to be challenging.

BCGEU Public Service members have made it clear in their proposals to your bargaining committee: financial issues are key to a tentative agreement. With inflation currently running at well over 4 per cent annually, the challenges in these negotiations are clear to your committee.

As you may already know, the Public Service Agreement has two parts (Component agreement and Main agreement) which are negotiated by separate tables (Component tables and the Main table). Proposals negotiated at the Component tables are limited in scope (non-monetary) and any proposals that cannot be settled at the Component tables are then dealt with at the Main table alongside monetary issues and significant collective issues.

Some gains were made on numerous proposals at the Component tables last week (January 31 to February 4) by each respective component bargaining committee. These agreements are being finalized and will be reported out later this week.

The employer and the union tabled language proposals to begin talks with financial matters to be tabled later.

Main table negotiations are scheduled through March 11 and are taking place in Vancouver this week and Victoria next week, with all COVID-19 safety measures in place.

As a BCGEU member covered by the Main Public Service Agreement, expect to receive regular bargaining updates from our union every step of the way throughout the bargaining process.

In solidarity,

Your BCGEU Public Service Bargaining Committee

Stephanie Smith, President
Paul Finch, Treasurer
Judy Phipps, Executive Vice President
Dean Purdy, Vice President - Component 1
Kusam Doal, Vice President - Component 5
Judy Fox-McGuire, Vice President - Component 6
Cynthia Mepham-Egli, Component 6 Acting First Vice-Chairperson
Maria Middlemiss, Vice President - Component 12
Matt Damario, Component 12 First Vice-Chairperson
Robert Davis, Vice President - Component 20
Doug Dykens, Director - Field Services & Negotiations
Michael Eso, Secretary and Chief Negotiator
Lisa Lane, Support Staff

Public Service Bargaining Committee