Majority of essential service levels now established, remainder by August 5.
Vancouver (Aug. 5, 2011) - After numerous delays, community social service workers in British Columbia, many of whom are members of the BC Government and Services Employee's Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) and Health Sciences Association of BC (HSABC/NUPGE), can expect job action to commence in August.
The long process of determining what services will be maintained as essential during a strike is finally drawing to a close.
Essential services levels have now been set at 97 per cent of the 220 agencies that make up BC’s community social services sector.
The BC Labour Relations Board (LRB) extended the original July 22 deadline for finalizing essential services levels, for a second time, to August 5.
The bargaining committee - the Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) – expressed frustration at the repeated and unnecessary delays.
The CSSBA strike co-ordination committee met last week to finalize job action preparations. We are currently securing appropriate spaces in communities around the province to serve as strike headquarters, which will handle the scheduling of employees working essential services shifts during job action.
Sensing that job action is now imminent, and all but inevitable, the Community Social Services Employers Association approached the bargaining committee with a proposal to return to the bargaining table.
The CSSBA agreed to meet on August 9 and have been clear that in order to reach a deal the employer must move significantly on our key issues – namely job security, fair work practices, and the continuing bleeding of jobs and decimation of services in the sector.
A return to the bargaining table will not delay job action in August if the employer fails to meet the CSSBA's key demands.
During a strike, there is lots of information circulating. To keep up to date, Community Social Service workers are encouraged to:
- Stay in touch with your union local and strike coordinator;
- Ensure your contact details with your union are up-to-date – especially your email and phone numbers;
- Check your union website regularly, and sign-up for relevant email alerts;
- Refer to the cssfairdeal.ca website, which will serve as an information hub during the strike;
- Join relevant Facebook Groups, including “BC’s Community Social Service Workers.” They are a useful way of getting timely updates on strike developments, and give workers the opportunity to ask questions and share opinions.
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