BCGEU ramps up strike action with overtime ban


“There was 16 years of digging holes within the public service underneath the earlier authorities, hiring freezes, layoffs, vacancies going fully unfilled. And whereas we now have grown the general public service it has not stored tempo with both workload or the inhabitants in our province.” — BCGEU president Stephanie Smith

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As its strike rolled into the second week, the British Columbia Basic Staff’ Union escalated its job motion Monday with a non-emergency ban on extra time for public sector employees. The 2 sides seem far aside, with the federal government saying current “exploratory talks” went nowhere.

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BCGEU president Stephanie Smith stated the ban on extra time underscores the B.C. Public Service Company’s stress on staff to work lengthy hours to make up for staffing shortages, a systemic subject the union is making an attempt to resolve by way of bargaining.

Smith stated B.C. Corrections officers are sometimes requested to do double shifts due to brief staffing. And court docket clerks and administrative employees are ceaselessly working past their eight-hour shifts. The extra time ban excludes members of the B.C. Wildfire Service.

“There was 16 years of digging holes within the public service underneath the earlier authorities, hiring freezes, layoffs, vacancies going fully unfilled,” Smith stated. “And whereas we now have grown the general public service it has not stored tempo with both workload or the inhabitants in our province.”

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Neither the federal government nor the union had figures on which public sector employees log probably the most extra time.

The BCGEU, which represents 33,000 provincial authorities employees, is in its second week of focused strike with 950 liquor distribution and wholesale employees picketing. Meaning no liquor or hashish merchandise are being distributed to B.C. companies which may trigger provide points for bars, eating places and hashish storefronts.

The Liquor Distribution Board on Friday introduced “modest” limitations on how a lot liquor prospects should buy at government-run retailers.

Smith hopes the escalated job motion will put stress on the federal government to return again to the negotiating desk with a greater provide.

“Our purpose was to not escalate job motion,” she stated. “Our purpose is to get a collective settlement that our members will vote for and that they deserve.”

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In a press release, the Public Service Company (PSA) stated important service ranges will probably be maintained in key authorities areas to ensure companies aren’t disrupted. The federal government stated the ball is now within the union’s court docket.

“Just lately, the events participated in exploratory talks,” a authorities spokesperson stated. “On the conclusion of these discussions, the BCGEU knowledgeable the PSA that it was not serious about resuming formal discussions presently.”

The BCGEU’s bargaining staff rejected the B.C. Public Service Company’s most up-to-date provide of a ten.99 per cent pay hike over three years plus a one per cent price of dwelling adjustment. Staff would additionally get a $2,500 signing bonus.

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon stated final week that’s probably the most beneficiant provide in a minimum of 30 years. The federal government says the proposal is far more than what’s being supplied to public sector staff in Alberta and Ontario.

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Smith wouldn’t give specifics on what the union is asking for apart from stressing that members ought to get price of dwelling changes that mirror drastically elevated price of dwelling because of inflation.

One labour skilled has stated he suspects the BCGEU will probably be making an attempt to match the deal given to Sea to Sky bus drivers in Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton, which secured a pay elevate of 13.5 per cent over 5 years plus a signing bonus and a value of dwelling clause which supplies employees a high up if inflation exceeds the employees’ raises.

Smith, who can also be chair of the union’s public service bargaining committee, wouldn’t touch upon that deal, saying every union should negotiate on their very own phrases.

The Skilled Staff Affiliation’s introduced a 72-hour strike discover at midday on Wednesday however the union has not but referred to as a strike. The PEA represents 1,200 licensed professionals embrace agrologists, engineers, foresters, geoscientists, pharmacists, psychologists and veterinarians.

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Jordana Whetter, a spokesperson for the union, stated the affiliation is legally required to offer the employer 72 hours discover however can name a strike anytime after that interval. The union has not stated what sort of job motion it may take.

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