VICTORIA, April 3, 2012 /CNW/ - The Professional Employees Association (PEA) has reached impasse with the BC Public Service in negotiating a contract for the 1200 Government Licensed Professionals working in the Public Service. These members are employed by the Provincial Government and work as licensed professionals in a variety of ministries including Forests and Natural Resources, Transportation and Environment. The collective agreement expired March 31, 2012 following 15 days of bargaining over the previous three months.
At this point, the PEA Bargaining Committee will be meeting with its membership to discuss the current state of bargaining before making a decision on whether to hold a strike vote, which will be determined on PEA members' opinions and sentiment.
Many issues are still outstanding. Most concerning is the government's intention to strip employment security and cancel market-based wage adjustments for engineers and pharmacists.
The growing trend to de-professionalize the BC public service is a significant outstanding issue at the table. "Our membership has indicated that the continuing reduction in the number of licensed professionals in BC's public service has increased the risk to public safety and compromised the management of some of BC's most important resources," said Scott McCannell, Executive Director of the Professional Employees Association. He continued "without an investment in public service licensed professionals it is questionable whether BC will be able to effectively manage the natural resources of our province, which are critical for revenues used to provide public services." Several reports, including the recent Auditor General's report on BC Forests, indicate that a reduction in the number of licensed professionals in the public service is negatively impacting the stewardship of natural resources.
"Our members are extremely committed to providing professional public services and are deeply concerned that the integrity of the public service is threatened due to the excessive reductions in staffing levels," said McCannell.
For further information:
Brett Harper, Communications Officer
Phone: 250-385-8791 ext. 206