BC Poli: Health workers ratify 'unique' wage deal

Finance Minister Mike de Jong - Black Press
Finance Minister Mike de Jong
— image credit: Black Press

Health science union members have voted 75 per cent to accept a five-year "growth sharing" wage agreement with the B.C. government.

First to accept the groundbreaking proposal are 16,000 specialists in diagnostic, clinical and rehabilitation services. A larger group of government union members is also voting on a similar offer.

The agreements include guaranteed wage increases of about 5.5 per cent over five years, plus extra money in years where the B.C. economy grows beyond independent forecasts.

They are also for an unusually long term and have been reached three months before the current contracts expire.

Val Avery, president of the Health Sciences Association, said the "modest wage increases" were in addition to employer commitments to recruiting and retaining professionals in highest demand.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong said the health science agreement is "unique to the needs of the employers and employees, and I expect we will see that pattern continue with subsequent agreements."

A similar five-year proposal has gone to a vote of 51,000 mainly B.C. Government Employees' Union members. They include direct government employees, home support workers, alcohol and drug counsellors, adult day centres, child development centres and mental health group homes.

The growth sharing formula is based on the finance ministry's economic forecast council, private sector experts who estimate growth in January as the provincial budget is being prepared. If actual growth exceeds projected growth by one per cent, it means $200 million more for the provincial treasury, which would be shared 50-50 with unionized employees for that year.


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