Labour minister rejects extension to arbitration deadline

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B.C.’s labour minister has rejected a request by the Hospital Employees’ Union to extend the deadline by which the union could opt for arbitration on the distribution of compensation cuts contained in Bill 37.

Under the provisions of the legislation, the HEU and the other members of the Facilities Bargaining Association have until Thursday to decide on whether to go to arbitration. HEU had sought an extension to this deadline in order to give members an opportunity to vote on this option.

“I’m disappointed that government has rejected our request,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt.

“The only people who voted for this collective agreement were members of the Liberal caucus,” adds Allnutt. “It’s important that union members have some opportunity to voice their opinion on the distribution of imposed compensation cuts.”

Allnutt says a planned meeting with health employers will go ahead Monday afternoon and the union will be pressing for ways to involve union members in the decisions that must be made in the aftermath of Bill 37.