Strike action in Community Social Services is likely in the coming weeks, unless the government mandate regarding monetary issues changes significantly.
B.C.’s Minister of Finance, Mike de Jong, made a pessimistic pronouncement about the state of the province’s finances last week, indicating the deficit is on the rise and costs have to be contained. In the government’s quarterly financial update on September 13, de Jong said the province will be reviewing its current bargaining mandate, which dictates that all public sector workers must find “savings” in their contracts to fund any wage increase.
On September 17 and 18, the multi-union bargaining committee met with the employer, the Community Social Services Employers Association (CSSEA). Progress was made on non-monetary issues, and the committee was able to fight off a number of concessions.
Because of the government mandate, CSSEA has not presented any monetary offer. Monetary items such as wages, benefits and employment security that were identified as important by the membership remain outstanding.
The multi-union bargaining committee has established a strike coordinating committee that is preparing for job action and planning other actions in support of a fair deal. The September 13 rally in support of community social service workers was a great success. Photos are available on this website as well as on the BC Community Social Service Workers Facebook page.