Government workers reach deal with NDP government

Photo: Chung Chow

The B.C. NDP government and the union representing 33,000 workers has a deal. 

B.C. General Employees’ Union announced Wednesday that it has a tentative three-year agreement through the end of March 2025, the product of nine days of negotiations behind closed doors. 

Dates for the ratification vote have not been released. 

The deal came five days after the group negotiating for 60,000 unionized hospital and long-term care workers reached a tentative agreement with the Health Employers Association of B.C. 

The BCGEU’s tentative agreement includes a 25 cents per hour plus 3.24% pay raise retroactive to April 1, then, beginning next April 1, a 5.5% to 6.75% pay raise, based on the average rate of inflation over 12 months beginning March 1, 2022. 

In the final year, a minimum 2% and maximum 3% pay increase based on the annualized average inflation rate over 12 months beginning March 1, 2023. 

BCGEU members at Liquor Distribution Branch warehouses walked off the job Aug. 12. They went back to work Aug. 31 when talks resumed. 

The most-recent BCGEU contract expired April 1. Negotiations began Feb. 8, but reached an impasse on April 6. Members voted 95% to strike in a tally announced June 22. There was no progress when the two sides met in July. The union had until Sept. 20 to serve strike notice.

BCGEU rejected a nearly 11% increase over three years plus up to $2,500 per member signing bonus offered by the government. Its key demand was for a cost of living adjustment clause to keep up with inflation. When talks began in February, inflation was 5.7%. It hit a 40-year high of 8.1% in May.