Monday, March 20, 2006

It's settled for four years

Our union, the BCGEU (BC Government Employees Union), finally came to a tentative agreement with the government on a new four year deal. As an added initiative to settle, the Finance Minister has set aside a billion dollars for signing bonuses for unions who settle before the March 31st deadline. A number of other public sector unions have settled in order to take advantage of the signing bonus offer. Two other big unions are still outstanding as their contracts do expire until June this year. The Teachers and Nurses unions are critical and although their contracts do not expire until June, the bonuses are available for them too.

The whole driver behind getting union peace is the upcoming 2010 Olympics where the government do not want the event to be marred or disrupted by union walkouts or strikes.

Highlights of the tentative agreement includes a 63 cent/hour increase for all employees in the first year following by 3%, 2.5% and 2% increases for subsequent years, a signing bonuse of $1.10/hour for an approximate total of $4,000 for each employee who are full time during Apr 1, 2004 to Mar 31, 2006 and increase in health, dental and other benefits.

For the folks in IT/IM, we have been getting a temporary market adjustment (TMA) on top of our regular pay in order to bring our compensation level in line with the marketplace. Under the new tentative agreement, the TMA stays and the only difference that I could see was that folks at grid level 30 will get an increase in their TMA from 6.6% to 9.9%

Anyhow the Union has about three weeks to get the general membership to vote whether to accept the deal. I hope they do as going on strike doesn't strike (pun intended) me as being beneficial to either parties.

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