More wage freezes for public sector workers is unacceptable, says BCGEU

VANCOUVER, May 31, 2011 /CNW/ - Provincial government employees and other public sector workers in the province cannot accept more years of wage freezes, says Darryl Walker, President of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU).

Reacting to recent public musings by Kevin Falcon, Minister of Finance, and Barry Penner, Attorney General, Darryl Walker said "Workers in the provincial government have been working under a 'net zero and zero' agreement for the past two years.  And they've been doing more with less since thousands of positions were also cut throughout the service." 

Thousands of workers across the public sector have also faced the same zeros, and the same funding squeeze, Walker says, " It can't continue."

"We have to revitalize the public service and public sector, recruit new, younger workers, and try to retain older, skilled workers," said Walker, "and that's not going to happen if we face year after year of wage freezes."

"The BCGEU and our members are committed to productivity, innovation and service," he said, "but the government, for its part, needs to show its commitment to both the services, and the workers who deliver them. We need fair tax policies and a fair tax system to fund public services."

Thousands of workers will be at the bargaining table early next year, working towards new contracts before agreements between unions and the provincial government expire in March. Groups like Community Social Services are deadlocked in the face of a zero wage mandate and government refusal to negotiate even small improvements in language.

Walker is scheduled to meet with Finance Minister Kevin Falcon on June 6 and will raise his concerns with the minister directly.

SOURCE B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union

For further information:

Brian Gardiner, BCGEU Communications (604) 291-9611

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B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union

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