BCIT to face job action

The B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union stepped up pressure on the provincial government to lift its wage freeze, announcing today that rotating job action will close all BCIT campuses on Monday.

Victoria, BC (21 Jan 2005) - The B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union stepped up pressure on the provincial government to lift its wage freeze, announcing today that rotating job action will close all BCIT campuses on Monday.

“The Campbell Liberals promised to lift the wage freeze after the next election, to try to win votes,” said BCGEU president George Heyman. “If they are serious about keeping their promise, they must recognize our members have already had their wages frozen for five of the last seven years, and deserve a fair wage increase.”

“We’ve seen how the Campbell Liberals make promises to get elected, and break them after. They promised not to tear up legal collective agreements, and did just that. If they continue with their zero wage mandate, their commitment will be seen as just another empty promise.”

Heyman says the Campbell government is trying to have it both ways, pointing out that Labour Minister Graham Bruce said he hopes colleges and workers can negotiate an agreement, but that his government has given the union nothing to negotiate. At the same time, the government approved double-digit pay raises for college administrators over the past two years.

Financial Information Act statements prepared by the colleges reveal the top ten percentage wage increases for college administrators over the last two fiscal years. Topping the list is Bob McKenzie, Executive Director of Administrative Services at BCIT, who received a 40 percent pay raise, with an annual salary of $112,753.

BCIT administrators hold five positions on the Top Ten List, with increases of 20.4 to 40 percent on salaries ranging from $102,713 to $163,521. Kwantlen College administrators hold three positions on the list, with increases of 22.3 to 24 percent on salaries ranging from $112,165 to $117,622. Douglas College managers hold two positions, with increases of 22.5 to 32.2 percent on salaries ranging from 100,633 to $136,391. For a complete list of college administrators’ salary increases, check the BCGEU web site at www.bcgeu.ca.

“The Campbell government gives college administrators substantial pay raises while sitting on a $2 billion surplus this year, then tells our members to make do with nothing,” said Heyman. “Their double standard is troubling. It’s time our members enjoyed the same right to a fair wage settlement as college administrators.”

The union is seeking a seven per cent pay boost in a new four year agreement, and parity measures to give support staff the same access to benefits that are already enjoyed by college instructors. BCGEU members have already had their wages frozen for five of the last seven years, and only 4.4 percent in the other two.

The BCGEU represents more than 600 support workers at BCIT, which operates five campuses on the Lower Mainland.