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BCGEU to take strike vote

Mar 31 2012

About 25,000 public-sector workers whose jobs range from hospital and prison duties to running government liquor stores will take a strike vote in April.

The announcement of the vote was made Friday by Darryl Walker, president of the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union, who said contract talks with the provincial government have broken down. The current contract expires Saturday, he said.

“We will be meeting with and talking to our members in early April,” Walker said at news conference. “And we will be conducting a strike vote in the latter part of April with the expected results in early May.”

The BCGEU has not gone on strike since 1988.

Walker said the BCGEU has previously negotiated under terms of the government’s “net-zero” mandate, but that it is time to receive an increase.

“Our members have not had pay increase in three years,” he said. “Our last increase was April of 2009.”

He said the union is well-aware of the tough economic times in the province, but members have done their part.

So far, the government has offered one-and-a-half per cent a year over two years, while the BCGEU is seeking an annual increase equal to the national cost-of-living rate plus one per cent, also over two years.

The cost-of-living rate is currently three per cent.