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Contract talks resume this week with BCGEU

Sep 25 2012

Negotiations are back on this week between the province and the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union in an effort to arrive at a new contract for an estimated 25,000 members who work directly for the government.

The union says the move comes a week after an overtime ban for non-essential services was undertaken by its members and in the wake of four one-day strikes, one of them provincewide.

Mediation attempts failed in June after the last contract expired March 31.

"It's time to sit down and hammer out an agreement, if possible. If not, it won't be for lack of effort," BCGEU president Darryl Walker said Monday in a statement. "Our members want a deal and we're going to get one."

There will be an information blackout on negotiations while the two sides are talking.

The Ministry of Finance said in an email Monday that the government is "pleased that bargaining has resumed" but that "no information about the process and progress will be released while the two sides are talking."

The union last proposed a 3.5 per cent increase for the first year of a two-year contract and a cost-of-living increase of about two per cent for the second. Wages have been frozen the past two years.

The province has insisted that 3.5 per cent over two years is all it can afford.

The average worker now makes about $45,000 a year.

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