B.C. aquaculture workers need transfer protocol

'The union will continue pushing for the parties to get together and commit to a formal transfer process.' - BCGEU.

Vancouver (7 April 2010) - The British Columbia Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) continues to insist that an orderly and fair employee transfer process is needed to transition aquaculture functions from provincial to federal jurisdiction.

As of December 18, 2010, and according to a B.C. Supreme Court decision, the province will no longer have authority over this program. The work will be done in the future by Canada’s federal department of fisheries and oceans.

“We have pushed hard for employment security provisions in bargaining and this will help give our aquaculture members options as the program goes through these changes,” says BCGEU president Darryl Walker.

“But the fairest way forward - and indeed the most sensible one - is for the provincial and federal governments to hammer out an employee transfer agreement, just like we have seen this past year with crop insurance workers coming into provincial jurisdiction, and with sales tax workers preparing to head to federal jurisdiction.”

Aquaculture work is currently done by a number of ministry of agriculture and lands members in Courtenay and Victoria, and by ministry of environment members in Nanaimo.The federal government is still in the process of developing and approving federal regulations. To this date, Ottawa has apparently not committed to negotiating a transfer of staff with B.C. officials.

It is common in employee transfer agreements to establish which staff members will switch to the new employer and how they can take their seniority with them. It is also common to negotiate conditions around the protection of pay levels.

"There are only nine months left until the transition must be complete and yet there are still many unknowns for members," BCGEU says.

"The two ministries have not provided details of who will be able to keep working in the ministries after the aquaculture transition is complete, who will be given an opportunity to go to the federal government and who will be provided placement elsewhere in the public service. Nor is it clear at this point where the federal workers will actually be housed. The union will continue pushing for the parties to get together and commit to a formal transfer process."

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE