"It's like a one-two punch – no prior warning, no consultation, just one more senseless act by a government in the dying days of its mandate." - Darryl Walker, BCGEU President.
Vancouver (02 April 2013) – The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) is angered after finding out the B.C. Liberal government is removing Oak Bay Lodge and The Lodge at Broadmead in Victoria from the public service, as well as the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital (FPH).
"It's bad enough we were blind-sided last month when the Liberals tabled legislation removing Forensics from direct government," said Darryl Walker, BCGEU President. "Now we find out Oak Bay Lodge and Broadmead are part of the plan. It's like a one-two punch – no prior warning, no consultation, just one more senseless act by a government in the dying days of its mandate."
The B.C. Public Service Agency (PSA) today served the BCGEU/NUPGE with the 60 days' notice required under the public service master agreement to remove FPH, Oak Bay Lodge and The Lodge at Broadmead from coverage under the Public Service Act.
This move followed last month's passing of Bill 8, the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, despite protests by the BCGEU/NUPGE and the Official Opposition. Part 6 of the bill amended the Forensic Psychiatry Act to effectively remove FPH from coverage under the Public Service Act and hand it over to a health authority covered by the Health Authorities Act. The government has since issued orders-in-council allowing it to move forward with the transfer of all three facilities out of the public service.
The BCGEU/NUPGE master bargaining committee held another emergency conference call to determine what recourse the union has.
"We demanded the premier and health minister reverse this decision," Walker said. "We raised it with the bargaining principals. We briefed the Official Opposition who, at our urging, spoke against the bill in the legislature. We intend to make it a priority with the new government."
Walker said in the meantime, the BCGEU/NUPGE will ensure the best interests of members. PSA has advised the union that FPH and Oak Bay Lodge will be transferred to a health authority and covered under the Health Authorities Act. Both facilities will be placed in the Health Services and Support Facilities Subsector Bargaining Association. The union will have no choice but to commence negotiations over a transfer agreement covering terms of employment.
The Lodge at Broadmead will become a stand-alone bargaining unit and will be a successor to the provisions of the public service master and component agreements. The union will have to commence negotiations shortly to meld these terms into one contract with the assistance of a bargaining committee elected from members employed at Broadmead.
Staff at all three facilities will continue to be members of the BCGEU/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