Friday, March 17, 2006

Go Fedaykin

Public service talks to resume Friday

The union representing 25,000 government employees who provide important public services in communities across the province has agreed to the provincial government’s request to return to the bargaining table. Talks are set to resume tomorrow, March 17, the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) said today.

“I have received word from the government that they are prepared to make us the significant new offer we said we needed. If it’s an offer that addresses our members’ key issues of privatization, contracting out and fair wages, our committee is ready to work hard to get an agreement,” said George Heyman, BCGEU president.

The union stepped away from the bargaining table on Monday, March 13, after seven straight days of talks failed to result in a tentative agreement. The union has since commenced essential service negotiations with the government, in the event of a strike.

“We told the government’s negotiators on Monday that while we are committed to achieving a negotiated settlement, their last offer wasn’t going to do it,” Heyman said. “We reiterated that any deal had to address privatization and contracting out, and provide for fair wage increases that keep pace with inflation.

“The government’s last offer did not provide the assurances our members need to protect them from privatization and contracting out. And their last wage offer was far less than what we need,” Heyman said.

“I’m optimistic that the government has heard the strong message from our members who voted 80 percent in favour of strike to back our contract demands that we deserve better in this round of bargaining and are prepared to fight for it. With a new offer from government and some more hard work by both sides on key issues, there’s no reason why we can’t reach an agreement by Sunday.”


No comments: