In hopes of getting the province to the bargaining table, the BCGEU has asked all of its 33,000 members to refrain from non-emergency overtime.
“BC’s public service has been reliant on our members’ overtime for far too long and dealing with the systemic issues behind that reliance is part of what we’re trying to achieve in this round of bargaining,” said Stephanie Smith, BCGEU president and chair of the union’s public service bargaining committee. “In this job action our members are the vanguard of the broader public sector in our province. We hope this escalation gives the government the incentive they need to invite us back to the bargaining table and negotiate a deal that will ensure robust, sustainable public services for our province and a fair deal for BCGEU members and all public sector workers.”
Negotiations for a new collective agreement started on February 8th. Bargaining reached an impasse on April 6th, and union members voted 95% in favor of job action on June 22nd. The parties met again in July but talks broke down once again.
The overtime ban will not apply to members employed in BC Wildfire Service during the current wildfire season. Targeted job action at BC Liquor Distribution Branch distribution and wholesale centers remains in effect.
The ban is effective immediately.
The BCGEU states public service workers feel tremendous pressure to work overtime in order to protect the individuals, families and communities they serve. The willingness to work overtime, the union states, masks issues like understaffing, excessive workload, and high turnover.