B.C. community social services workers resume negotiations

Sub-committee makes last attempt to reach agreement before strike vote
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 03/22/2011

Collective bargaining resumes today for members of the Community Social Services Bargaining Committee (CSSBC). The collective agreement for the group expired in March 2010.

A smaller bargaining sub-committee will meet with employers in a final attempt to reach an agreement. Four unions representing over 75 per cent of the workers in the sector voted to bargain through the sub-committee.

“This is really a final push to avoid labour disputes,” says Oliver Rohlfs, communications director with the British Columbia Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU). “In theory, we should start bargaining for our next contract in six months.”

Rohlfs says the key demands the CSSBC are centered on job security for its members to guarantee continuity of care for their clients, as many of them are vulnerable individuals. They also seek wage increases for the lowest paid workers and improvements to sick leave.

Meetings were originally planned with CCSBC members to decide on possible job action, but have been postponed while final talks take place. If a strike proceeds, the group will have to decide how to ensure essential services coverage is guaranteed.

The Community Social Services Employers’ Association represents 220 agencies across the province. The union bargaining association represents over 15,000 workers in nine unions. The BCGEU is the lead union in the sector with over 10,000 members.

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