Wages falling behind competitive public and private positions, says CUPE 1767
CUPE 1767, representing 610 workers for BC Assessment, have voted 81 per cent in favour of job action. The strike vote, announced at the union’s AGM on September 29, was taken following several months of sporadic bargaining sessions in which no progress was made at the table. Negotiations began in mid-December last year.
“The employees are tired of constantly doing more with less, and with less pay,” said CUPE 1767 president Kevin McPhail. “We absorbed two years of zero per cent under the last contract and are slipping further behind the cost of living.”
The Local has requested that any wage increase be retroactive to the actual start of the contract, which was January 1, 2012. McPhail said that, since the employer and union jointly funded an external wage benchmarking study, further job postings have shown wages for clerical, I/T and appraisal jobs falling as much as 15 per cent behind competitive public and private positions.
“We had been hopeful that the ‘co-operative gains’ mandate would be just that: co-operative,” he said. “But our employer has refused to share with us how they arrived at their initial offer of 1.5 and 1.5 per cent over two years. We have been forced to request this information through Freedom of Information legislation.”
The CUPE 1767 president added that the employer is attempting to force a concession of accepting “flexible benefits” that would require employees to anticipate the health needs of their families in advance.
“It’s too risky a proposition,” said McPhail, adding that the employer continues to play a game of divide and conquer by offering higher wage increases to some employees higher up in the pay grid, thus entrenching an already inequitable pay scale.
“We firmly believe that the concept of equal pay for work of equal value must return and that the base wage levels be increased for all employees.”