BCGEU members ratify agreement with provincial government

VANCOUVER, April 30 /CNW/ - Members of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) employed by the provincial government have voted 71 percent in favour of a new collective agreement. The announcement was made today by the union following two weeks of voting.

The voting comes following a tentative agreement with government negotiators that was reached on March 29.

"This was a tough round of negotiations, but I am pleased that the agreement has been ratified," said Darryl Walker, BCGEU president.

"The results show that employment security was key for our members, but they have also said that when we are at the table in two years they will want us to negotiate a wage increase," said Walker. "Our members understand that in these economic times a wage increase was not possible."

"Under the terms of the agreement, employment security provisions have been renewed and improved. This was the number one issue for our members. Reaching the employment security package was key - we would not have signed a tentative agreement without it," said Walker.

Other highlights of the agreement include:

      -  Two-year agreement expiring March 31, 2012.
      -  No general wage increase because of the province's two year wage
         freeze, but a continuation of current temporary market adjustments
      -  Improved extended health benefits, such as hearing aids and leave
         for family illness in the case of illness or hospitalization of the
         employee's spouse or leave for care for adult dependent children.

The 29,000 BCGEU members covered by the new agreement provide important services around the province. They include child protection workers, health care workers, environment officials, corrections officers and sheriffs, conservation officers, public liquor store employees, and administrative workers across the province.

SOURCE B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union

For further information: For further information: Brian Gardiner, BCGEU Communications, (604) 291-9611

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