The bargaining committee negotiating on behalf of 115 RNs and RPNs working with at-risk children, youth and adults in government programs and functions across BC is recommending a five-year tentative agreement for approval.
The proposed agreement, running from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2019, follows the provincial wage mandate of 5.5% over five years, plus four possible economic stability dividends. Two dividends have already been paid to date, raising the value of the contract over the life of the agreement to 6.3%. Two additional dividends are payable in 2018 and 2019, if the province’s GDP exceeds economic forecasts.
All members will receive wage increases and dividends retroactive to the start of the contract after ratification.
The committee also negotiated a commitment from the employer to undertake an independent review of “the challenges facing government in recruiting and retaining nurses because of the difference in work opportunities and compensation between nurses employed by government and those employed by health authorities”. The review must be completed within nine months of ratification.
The agreement also establishes a high-level recruitment-and-retention committee, with broad powers to recommend ways to address the hiring challenges facing the sector.
Other new language relating to wages and benefits includes a new nine-step wage grid with increments every twelve months rather than every eighteen, as well as wage increase dates mirroring those of the health sector.
Portability of seniority for new hires is also established, in order to make recruitment into the sector more attractive.
Other monetary benefits include a lift to $300 in the contribution towards nurses’ annual licensing fees, effective April 1, 2018, and an increase of special leave from one to two days per year (covering illness or hospitalization of a parent).
Members will receive a full package of improvements prior to ratification, with process and dates to be announced in the near future.
The members of the bargaining committee for public service nurses are Arvita Cotter, Lola Backlund, Karen Edwards, Christine Brisebois, and Lisa Isaac.
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