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Contract talks at standstill between government and employees union

The BC General Employees Union and the province are back at square one as the latest contract talks came up empty.

The union and 33-thousand of its members rejected a nearly 10% pay hike over three years.

President, Stephanie Smith told Vista Radio the latest offer fell short of expectations.

“Our members said very, very clearly to us that they needed to see in this collective agreement was cost of living adjustments and protection for their wages against rising rates of inflation. The employer’s proposal that they gave to us did not address what our members said they needed to see.”

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“We actually worked really hard within that financial framework to come back with a counter offer that did meet what our members said they needed. We met with them on Monday after they considered it and said no to us. More than that, they said no to us with any other counter proposal.”

According to Smith, the province offered pay hikes of 3.76 and 3.23 percent in the first two years followed by a modest three percent bump in year three (with a signing bonus of up to $2500).

She added some of their members are essential workers and can’t strike.

14 hundred of its members work in Prince George and range from prison guards, to social workers, to forest firefighters.

The workers voted 95 percent in favour of strike action last month but no deadline has been set.

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