Essential services protocol finalized in B.C. but negotiations continue for government workers.
Vancouver (08 June 2012) - Since talks broke down at the end of March 2012, the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) master bargaining committee has been meeting with the employer to reach an agreement about essential service staffing levels if the union engages in job action.
The designation of essential services involves identifying the facilities and levels of service needed to prevent a threat to the health, safety or welfare of B.C. residents as stipulated in section 72 of the Labour Relations Code. The parties are not permitted to commence any job action until the essential services designation process has been completed.
The parties chose to negotiate the levels without the involvement of the Labour Relations Board which could have resulted in a lengthy period of delay. The parties have signed off on a working document that has been forwarded to Area Strike Coordinators.
Members will undoubtedly have questions about specific worksite and whether certain positions have been designated as essential. If the union takes the decision to pursue job action, the working document will be quickly circulated to Zone and Picket Captains so members will know how they and their worksite will be affected.
Levels are close to 100 per cent for the health care facilities and correction facilities. In the Ministry of Children and Family Development, Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Social Development there are significant essential service designations as well.
The union ensured that excluded staff will be replacing some of the BCGEU/NUPGE members performing front line social work, probation, health care and correction living unit duties. For other ministries, many of BCGEU/NUPGE members have been deemed non-essential and can participate in job action.
The master bargaining committee is back at the table this week in Victoria working to achieve a fair and reasonable agreement.
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