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Thursday, October 28 marked the one-year anniversary of the commencement of negotiations for new collective agreements in British Columbia’s community social services sector. Bargaining resumed this week after the employers took a five-week break.

The union bargaining committee was optimistic at the start of the week as a number of very minor issues were agreed to. However, talks later bogged down as the employer committee dug in their heels over relatively simple issues. 

Employers continue to embrace the provincial Liberal government’s “zero-zero mandate” and refuse to discuss any proposals that they claim have monetary implications. Beside addressing low wages and inferior benefits in the sector, our mandate includes employment security during a time of lay-offs, safe, healthy and respectful workplaces and fair work practices.

The employers’ committee was unwilling to meet next week for negotiations, but the unions will meet with the employers’ association on November 4 to discuss essential services in the event of a strike or lock-out. The next dates for negotiations are in December.

You can see the open letter to community social services employers at www.cssfairdeal.ca.