Newspaper article The Canadian Press

B.C. Gets 3 Deals Offering Economic Growth-Sharing Dividend to Public Workers

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

B.C. Gets 3 Deals Offering Economic Growth-Sharing Dividend to Public Workers

Article excerpt

B.C. reaches deals with 51,000 public workers

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VICTORIA - Government workers in British Columbia are poised to endorse a growth-sharing offer as part of a long-term contract settlement with the provincial government.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong said Tuesday that three tentative deals with 51,000 workers are novel because they were reached before the current contract expires, last five years and include the possibility for extra pay if the economy improves.

The tentative agreements affect 25,000 B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union members and members of two bargaining associations, which include about 11,000 people who work in social services, and another 15,000 community health employees.

The deals that expire in March 2019 include wage increases amounting to about 5.5 per cent over the five-year term.

De Jong said those agreements and last month's tentative settlement with 16,000 members of the Health Sciences Association mean one-quarter of the government's unionized workforce has now reached potential collective agreements, enhancing labour stability.

"To describe this as a positive development, I think, is something of an understatement," de Jong told a news conference in Vancouver.

He said that under the deals outlined Tuesday, unionized workers will receive growth-sharing increases that equal half of any percentage point gain in gross domestic growth above the forecasts of the independent Economic Forecast Council.

A government background document stated that under the economic dividend agreement, a government worker earning $50,000 a year can expect an extra $250 if the provincial GDP rises by one percentage point above forecasts.

The government and the BCGEU agree that B.C.'s economy has surpassed growth forecasts in six of the last 12 years, amounting to what would have been an extra three per cent for the union members. …

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