Finance minister 'disappointed' talks with BCGEU off
Finance Minister Kevin Falcon responded to the breakdown in negotiations with the British Columbia Government and Service Employees’ Union.
“I am disappointed to hear that the negotiations for the BCGEU Master Agreement have broken down,” Falcon said.
“I understood that progress was being made, but it is the union’s right to take a strike vote. It is our hope that the parties will come back to the table to negotiate a new collective agreement for the Public Service. I still believe a negotiated settlement is possible.”
Last week BCGEU president Darryl Walker announced the union was going to seek a strike mandate from its members after contract talks reached a dead end.
” It did not have to come to this,” Walker told members on the union website. “Your union went to the bargaining table with fair and reasonable proposals. Our proposals took into account the economic challenges facing our province.
They also took into consideration the cuts our members have taken over the last few years.”
Falcon said the government’s “net-zero mandate” is not etched in stone provided the two parties could find cost savings within the 2012 Cooperative Gains Mandate.
“The Cooperative Gains Mandate allows for cost savings found outside of the collective agreement, and these can be used for increases or improvements to the agreements.
“B.C. has a legislated commitment to balance the budget in 2013-14 – it is our first priority and we will meet that commitment. There is no desire to download costs onto families or future generations.”