'That's the main issue we want to deal with at the table.' - BCGEU president Darryl Walker.
Vancouver (28 Jan. 2010) - Employment security will be the major issue for 29,000 public employees across British Columbia during the current round of bargaining for a new contract, says Darryl Walker, president of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE).
Talks began earlier this month. The current contract expires March 31.
"Members have told us that employment security is the key message ... and that's the main issue we want to deal with at the table," Walker says in a video update posted on the union website.
"Their jobs are absolutely essential in this province. We are one of the leanest public sectors in the country and without employment security we simply cannot continue to deliver the services that we are delivering to British Columbians today."
Walker says years of restraint have already had a serious impact on morale across the public sector.
"For years now they have had to deal with less and less people on the job and more and more workload so morale is going to continue to go down unless we can deal with employment security."
Walker says the union recognizes that the province is facing a budget deficit and said the union plans to put forward a number of innovative proposals to help the province find new revenues to meet its public sector requirements.
"Keeping our government liquor stores open on Sunday would increase government revenue by $150 million," he notes. "We believe there are other areas we can also find increased revenues."
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