BURNABY, BC, Sept. 12, 2014 /CNW/ - Workers at the Native Court Workers
and Counselling Association of BC have voted 98 per cent in favour of
strike action if necessary to support their demand for parity with
other Aboriginal workers in the province, the B.C. Government and
Service Employees' Union announced today.
In 2003, the B.C. Liberal government passed the Community Services
Labour Relations Act, which created a sectoral bargaining unit for
CSSEA members who provide Aboriginal services. But the native court
workers were never brought into this agreement, due to a lack of
commitment to funding by the government.
"Placing these workers into the CSSEA agreement would bring these
employees up to the industry standard," says BCGEU president Stephanie
Smith. "This is about fundamental fairness. Aboriginal people deserve
the same wages and benefits as other public employees doing similar
The bargaining unit, which is funded by the B.C. government, should be
included in the Community Social Services Employers' Association
(CSSEA) Aboriginal services bargaining unit, the union says. Starting
wage for a native court worker is only $31,800, compared to $42,000 for
an Aboriginal service worker under the CSSEA agreement.
Employees working as native court workers province-wide have had wage
increases amounting to only nine per cent since 2002. Meanwhile, B.C.'s
inflation rate has gone up by more than 18 per cent in that time. The
workers haven't had a raise since 2009 and their collective agreement
expired in 2011.
"Our members at the Native Court Workers and Counselling Association
have sent a strong signal to government that five years without a raise
and three years without an agreement is too long," says Smith. "They provide valuable services to Aboriginal people within the
court system and deserve fair compensation for their work, properly
funded by the government.
The union and employers are requesting assistance from the B.C. Labour
Board to mediate the dispute, and have dates scheduled for September 16
and 18. Native court workers have been BCGEU members since 1981.
SOURCE: B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union
For further information:
Chris Bradshaw at 604-291-9611 or 604-369-8411