CSS talks break off in Community Social Services sector
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Talks between the unions representing B.C.’s community social services workers and the Community Social Services Employers’ Association (CSSEA) have broken off a little more than a week away from Christmas.
The collective agreement expired at the end of March this year, although all terms and conditions - except the employment security provisions - continue to be in effect.
The CSS bargaining team says negotiations have dragged on for more than 13 months, and the employers’ position has not changed significantly since early talks broke off almost one year ago.
After more than a year, the employers’ position remains:
- No employment security or improvements to bumping and recall rights during a time of lay-offs and cuts.
- No improvements to wages.
- No improvements to benefits, including sick leave.
- No improvements to reimbursable expenses, like mileage, so employees will continue to subsidize their employers.
- No improvements to the way jobs are awarded to make the process fair and transparent.
The employers’ ultimatum today was a demand that community social services’ workers accept a modest improvement in harassment language, in exchange for no changes to bumping and recall rights, and job selections.
Less than zero
The government and employers’ “zero-zero” mandate – which means absolutely no increased costs in the collective agreement for two years – is really less than zero for our members. As the cost of living rises for everything from housing and food to hydro and the HST, we fall behind.
Your bargaining committee remains committed to advancing our mandate from members, and to making real and significant improvements and progress toward regaining what we have lost over the last 10 years.
Your bargaining committee will be consulting members in the near future, but in the meantime, unions have advised employers and the federal government that approvals for summer student employment programs will be withheld given the circumstances.
Meetings are being planned for early January where your bargaining committee will be seeking direction from members. Watch for notices on your union bulletin board and website.
The Liberal government’s CSSEA represents 220 agencies across the province. The Union Bargaining Association (UBA) represents over 15,000 workers in nine unions.