Health unions to deputy labour minister: We'll bargain hard to reach negotiated contract

Bargaining bulletin

Printer Friendly Version

Health unions told deputy labour minister Lee Doney Tuesday night that they’re prepared to bargain hard to hammer out a contract settlement for their 43,000 members and laid out the conditions under which productive discussions could take place.

Doney was appointed by labour minister Graham Bruce earlier in the day and given 24 hours to meet with health unions and the Health Employers’ Association of B.C. to explore avenues of reaching a negotiated settlement.

“Our bargaining team told Mr. Doney that for talks to succeed health employers must stop the clock on privatization,” says Hospital Employees’ Union secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt.

“Specifically, we told the deputy minister that during talks health employers should not initiate any new contracting out schemes and should stop the clock on the notice periods for those who have received layoff notices.

“Under these conditions we would consider changing the nature of our job action to provide the parties room to talk,” adds Allnutt.

“We are fully prepared to move from our current proposals and negotiate intensely to reach a new contract. But we are looking for a commitment from health employers that they would table a new package at the bargaining table that includes employment security.

“The HEABC’s current demand for nearly $900 million in concessions over three years is out of the ballpark,” says Allnutt.

Doney is expected to meet with health employers early Wednesday morning before reporting to the labour minister and the provincial cabinet.

“We had a straight-forward exchange of views with Mr. Doney,” concludes Allnutt. “We asked him to relate to the politicians in Victoria that we are committed to achieving a negotiated settlement — the first in the hospital and long-term care sector since this government was elected.”