Community Social Services: No more concessions, unions tell government
Contract talks got off to a rocky start earlier this week when the government's bargaining agent tabled a package laden with demands for concessions. "We"re disappointed," said Chris Mullen, spokesperson for the Union Bargaining Association (UBA).
"It’s early days in bargaining, but we expected better treatment this time around. The 15,000 women and men in this sector have been forced to endure massive cutbacks and clawbacks to their wages, benefits and other hard-won rights.
"Workers and the thousands of vulnerable clients who rely on their care have more than paid the price for the government’s fiscal agenda," Mullen said.
"For the employers’ association to come to the table demanding even more concessions is troubling and makes us wonder if the government is serious about addressing the long-standing issues that have led to critical problems of recruitment and retention of staff."
By contrast, the 13-union bargaining association opened contract talks yesterday with a strong message that the two sides need to work together to find solutions to problems in order to ensure stability in the sector.
"We’re not here to talk about concessions," Mullen told the Community Social Services Employers’ Association (CSSEA).
"We have a very clear direction from our members to regain lost ground.
"We expect respect and fairness, through restoring lost benefits, wages and working conditions.
"These are the essential elements to achieving a stable, career-oriented workforce able to meet the needs of families and communities throughout B.C."
Bargaining is scheduled to continue through the week.