#P2 Employer’s concession demands designed to stall negotiations, say unions

Bargaining bulletin

The Health Employers Association of B.C. presented a list of 30 demands last week when bargaining resumed at the Paramedical Professional table. The employer called for a wide range of concessions including reduced vacation accumulations, increased employer ability to set work schedules, reassignment of staff and increased use of on-call for non-emergency situations. HEABC also served notice it will be tabling proposed changes to the classification system this week.

“The number of concessions tabled by the employer makes me wonder if they’re interested in negotiating a collective agreement,” said chief negotiator Rick Lampshire of the Health Sciences Association.

The health care system needs to keep its highly skilled workers and to attract new people to the health science professions, not make existing staff work more hours as the employer is suggesting, Lampshire says.

HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt is equally incensed at the employer’s concession demands. “HEABC seems to be blaming health care workers for the crisis in our health care system,” he said.

HEABC opened bargaining with a feel-good statement about protecting the health care system.

“Health care workers and the public are not going to feel good about the employer’s position which is only designed to stall negotiations,” says Lampshire.

Other employer concession demands include increased probationary periods, takeaways of some maternity leave provisions, mandatory pay-back of employer-imposed education if employee leaves within a year, reduced ability of shop stewards to represent members in labour relations matters and reductions on sick leave caps.

The Paramedical Bargaining Association represents 14,000 health science professionals in HEU, HSA, BCGEU, CUPE, and the Professional Employees’ Association.

Bargaining resumes on February 20, with specific dates set aside in February and March for discussions on classifications, WCB and LTD issues.