Province, BCGEU reach tentative deal

BCGEU president Stephanie Smith
BCGEU president Stephanie Smith

The province has reached a tentative contract agreement with one of its largest unions.

The tentative deal covers approximately 26,500 members of the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU).

“We respect the work of the public sector employees who help provide people with the services they depend on,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance, in a news release. “This tentative agreement is the first among 183 that will help us deliver better services to British Columbians, and we look forward to unions and employers continuing to reach freely negotiated agreements.”

The tentative agreement covers 21,800 employees in the B.C. public service who are members of the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU). The BCGEU main agreement also includes 4,200 members working at Liquor Distribution Branch, and just over 480 employees at the BC Pension Corporation.

“It’s been an intensive round of negotiations, sometimes stretching into the early morning hours, but we’re pleased to have reached an agreement for our public service members,” said BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. “Our members have faced growing service, workload and recruitment and retention challenges. But we believe we’ve made substantial progress in a number of key areas.”

It’s a three-year tentative agreement with general wage increases in each year of the agreement, as well as targeted increases for some classifications, to deal with recruitment and retention issues in the respective ministries.

The union will engage with its members and provide a comprehensive report on the agreement before a ratification vote in the coming weeks.