BCGEU questions grim economic picture painted in government's Quarterly Report

VANCOUVER, Sept. 13, 2012 /CNW/ - The B.C. Government & Service Employees' Union is puzzled by statements outlined today in the B.C. Government's Quarterly Report that suggest the province's economic health has declined.

"On August 7, then Finance Minister Kevin Falcon stated publicly that he had 'good news coming out of public accounts,' boasting that 'once again we outperformed' and 'we are on track for a surplus budget next year,' said BCGEU President Darryl Walker. "Today, Finance Minister Mike de Jong is saying that B.C.'s economy has worsened. How could it have changed so drastically in one month's time?"

The BCGEU is also concerned about spending reductions and other measures the government wants to employ to address the shortfall. The government's own facts point to a better economic picture than Minister de Jong is suggesting. Retails sales are up, employment is up and is forecast to continue on an upward trend.

"Spending reductions will put added pressure on public services like social workers and child protection," said Walker.

"We expect that any savings realized by the government's hiring freeze and our overtime ban will go towards a better offer for our members who have not had a raise in three and a half years."

The BCGEU is also seeking information about the bargaining mandate review announced in the report. The union remains committed to reaching a fair and reasonable settlement for its members who work for the B.C. government and is open to returning to the bargaining table to conclude an agreement.

The BCGEU has more than 25-thousand members in the B.C. Public Service. The collective agreement expired on March 31, 2012.

SOURCE: B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union

For further information:

Chris Bradshaw at 604-291-9611 or 604-369-8411

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B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union

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