Comparability hearing delayed to March 25

HEU and HEABC prepare by narrowing down outstanding issues

HEU, HEABC and arbitrator Stephen Kelleher will meet later in March to settle outstanding issues in the determination of comparability between HEU members in the facilities sector and BCGEU members who carry out similar work in the direct government service. Kelleher has called the hearing to conclude the lengthy process between HEU and the Health Employers Association of B.C., and has directed the parties to consider the following factors in finalizing comparability: wage differences at April 1, 1996, differences in job security, differences in benefits and differences in working conditions—including hours of work. To prepare for the hearing, HEU and HEABC met February 23 to narrow the issues to be discussed. HEU’s position includes paid maternity/parental leave top-up, targeted increases to classifications and the pay equity plan, and across-the-board increases to compensate for benefit and pension differences. Kelleher ruled January 22 on several key issues that will assist HEU in obtaining fair compensation for members in the final leg of the comparability process. He maintained that interest be paid on comparability payments retroactive to July 1, 1996, and that comparability is not limited by the Public Sector Employers’ Council’s government compensation guidelines. “There is only one task ahead of us—reaching agreement on the adjustments necessary to achieve comparability,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt.