BC Government Professional Employees taking province-wide job action today

VICTORIA, BC, Sept. 5, 2012 /CNW/ - Professional Employees Association (PEA) members that work for the Province of BC will be taking one-day job action across BC today. The PEA will be joining the BC Government and Service Employees' Union and Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union Local 378 in this action to send a strong message that the Provincial Government must be willing to settle a fair and reasonable collective agreement.

PEA members who work for the BC Government are licensed professionals including: foresters, engineers, geoscientists, agrologists, veterinarians, mines inspectors, licensed psychologists, pharmacists and others. They provide expert response to floods and landslides, keep public highway bridges and roads safe, counsel troubled youth, help prevent the transmission of disease and provide an independent, science-based perspective in contributing to the stewardship of public resources, such as forests and lands.

"Our professional members have in almost all cases chosen public service because of their commitment to serving the public interest and the decision for them to take strike action for the first time in the PEA's 38-year history has not been taken lightly," said Scott McCannell, PEA Executive Director.

"Our members are profoundly concerned about the Government's marginalization of professionals in the public service. The number of professionals employed by the Province has decreased by 26% over the last decade and 10% in the last two years. Without reversing the trend towards downsizing the number of professionals or replacing them with non-professionals the public interest will not be served. The Auditor General and other watchdog groups have already sounded the alarm about lack of management of our forests and our members are deeply concerned that public safety will be further impacted," notes McCannell.

PEA members have been without a wage increase since 2009 and have had wage freezes in two of the last three rounds of bargaining. The PEA is also seeking wage increases based on the cost of living so that further ground is not lost to inflation. A market study by a world-renowned compensation company shows PEA wages lag other comparable public sector and private sector professional jobs by between nine and 43 per cent, depending on profession.

SOURCE: Professional Employees Association

For further information:

Media Contact:

Al Gallupe, Labour Relations Officer
Phone: 250-385-8791 ext. 202

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