Two weeks after an overwhelming 96 per cent of the province’s 47,000 health care workers voted to seek a strike mandate, a tentative agreement has been reached with the provincial government.
The Facilities Bargaining Association (FBA) and the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC) agreed to the terms of a new contract that will increase general wages by 5.5 per cent over five years. It will limit the government’s ability to contract out services while expanding employment options and enforcing benefits.
“Health care workers signaled clearly that they were determined to protect jobs and improve working and caring conditions,” says Bonnie Pearson, chief spokesperson for the FBA.
“This agreement meets those conditions and provides a measure of stability and certainty in a health care system that is under considerable stress.”
The collective agreement includes workers in hospitals, residential care facilities, emergency health services, and logistics and supply operations. It’s the largest bargaining unit in B.C.’s public sector.
A wide range of occupations in the bargaining unit includes care aides, ambulance paramedics, health records staff, lab and other diagnostic specialists, sterile supply techs, emergency dispatchers, nursing unit clerks, trades and maintenance workers, activity aides and rehab assistants, IT specialists, pharmacy techs, admitting and booking clerks, administrative staff, cleaning and dietary staff, and many others.
Featured Image: Hospital staff via Shutterstock