The Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) is pleased to announce that, after four weeks of negotiations and a 95‑hour push over the last six days for a deal without concessions, a tentative agreement has been reached for General Services and Community Living with the Community Social Services Employers’ Association (CSSEA). The tentative agreements are for three-year terms and provide significant compensation increases in terms of low‑wage redress for all members while meeting the government mandate of improving the services British Columbians count on.

“This round of bargaining was really about restoring the sense of respect and value for the critical work that community social services workers do throughout B.C. These tentative agreements go a long way toward achieving that, particularly around the issue of fair compensation,” says CUPE Community Social Services Coordinator Michael Reed.

“Everyone knows how dedicated our members are, and how committed to serving some of our most vulnerable citizens with such limited resources. So we are excited by the government’s commitment, as evidenced by these agreements, to improving these important services and acknowledging the caring professionals who deliver them.”

Highlights of the agreements include:

  • General wage increases of 2% in each year, plus significant money for low‑wage redress to address recruitment and retention issues in the sector
  • Strong improvements to occupational health and safety including a Provincial Occupational Health and Safety Council
  • The restoration of statutory holiday pay for part-time and casual employees
  • A non-provincially funded childcare commitment from government to look at fair compensation for early childhood educators
  • An improved process to assist the parties in better labour relations
  • Enhancements to health and welfare benefit plans to start closing the gap with the health sector
  • The renewal of the labour adjustment education fund and funding for health and safety and violence prevention training

“We could not have achieved these agreements without the dedication, hard work and cooperation of all the unions at the table, and an employer that was willing to listen. It really is a win-win for everyone, and especially the clients who so depend on the services all our members provide,” says CUPE Negotiator Cheryl Colborne.

Specific details on the new collective agreements, including a comprehensive report, will be available in the coming weeks. The CSSBA and the CSSEA will be meeting in the next week to conclude negotiations for Aboriginal Services.