Ready recommends significant wage hikes

Bargaining bulletin

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Mediator Vince Ready is recommending significant wage hikes and other contract improvements to settle the collective bargaining dispute between more than 1400 HEU members and Sodexho.

Ready was appointed by the Labour Relations Board at the request of both parties on November 4 — the 51st day of strike action by Sodexho workers at health facilities across the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island.

If Ready’s report is ratified by both parties, it will form the basis of a first contract between HEU and the French corporation.

HEU members will vote on the report between November 29 and December 9. HEU and its bargaining committees are recommending that members vote yes.

“This is not a perfect contract — it’s a compromise,” says HEU secretary-business manager Judy Darcy.

“But it does achieve our main goal of improving wages and sick benefits. And if this contract is ratified, we can start to build the union in the workplace to make sure that our members’ rights are respected.”

Under Ready’s recommendations hourly wages will rise to $13.05 by October, 2007. For many members that represents an increase of between $2.60 and $2.90 an hour.

There’s also retroactive wage adjustments that will result in payments to many workers of up to $650 based on hours worked.

Workers at some facilities where no wage increases were provided for more than a year will receive additional retroactive payments.

Ready also recommends employees pay a greater share of health and welfare benefits over the term of the agreement to bring them in line with the ARAMARK contract.

“Our Sodexho members have accomplished a great deal,” says Darcy. “They’ve taken on one of the biggest global contractors in the world and forced them to a first contract.

“We’ll be ready to make even more progress when we get back to the bargaining table in 2008.”

Full details of the recommendations are contained in a comprehensive report that is being distributed to worksites and available at www.heu.org. Notice of ratification meetings will be posted in worksites over the next few days.