The British Columbia government begins negotiating a new contract for 25,000 of its employees on Jan. 10.
The deputy sheriffs, university instructors, health-care workers and government administrative staff are looking to sign a contract with a wage increase, says B.C. Government and Services Employees Union (BCGEU) president Darryl Walker.
"Members have told us increased wages, improved benefits and job security are their priorities," said Walker. “We have a tough road ahead. But, we're prepared for any action we have to take to get our members the improved contracts they've earned.”
Finance Minister Kevin Falcon has said the current economic climate hasn’t left enough money in the coffers for higher wages during government contract negotiations. Falcon hasn’t commented on upcoming negotiations because he will not speak to media about bargaining issues.
The BCGEU will be negotiating contracts for 85 per cent of its members in 2012. The union has bargaining dates planned through to the end of March.
Negotiations in the health, community social services and other sectors will begin before the end of February.
Earlier this week, the BCGEU suggested more public liquor stores be open on Sundays. The union says the government is missing out on millions of dollars of potential revenue.
The union estimates a Sunday opening could generate between $120 million and $150 million each year in additional revenue.
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