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After 5 months of talks, mediator needed: BCGEU

Jun 09 2012

B.C.'s government workers want a mediator to step in and try to resolve labour negotiations with the province that they say are stalled.

The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union, which represents roughly 25,271 civil servants, has asked the Labour Relations Board to appoint a mediator to help facilitate talks with the province.

The move comes after five months of negotiations, including three sessions this week, which produced few results, said union president Darryl Walker.

"We're now to the point where it doesn't appear we can get there with just the two parties working with each other, so we're hopeful a third party can bring us together," Walker said.

The BCGEU had proposed a wage increase of roughly 3.75 per cent for the next two years, as well as revenue-generating opportunities such as opening government liquor stores on Sundays - an idea rejected by the government.

The province has said any pay boost must come under a "co-operative gains" mandate where raises are funded by savings found elsewhere in a contract.

"Government wishes to be fair and reasonable, but has to recognize we are in a time of global economic uncertainty," said Finance Minister Kevin Falcon in a statement. "We will not add to the deficit or raise taxes to provide unaffordable wage increases."

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