VICTORIA – Legislation will be introduced today to end the current health-care disputes, providing B.C. nurses and health professionals with the best combined wage and compensation packages in the country, Premier Gordon Campbell and Minister of Skills Development and Labour Graham Bruce said.
"Patient care has suffered severely during the four months these disputes have dragged on, and the time has come to take action," Campbell said. "Although this is not the type of conclusion to the disputes that we wanted, the reality is the parties are still hundreds of millions of dollars apart, and government simply doesn't have the money to meet excessive demands. This is a fair deal, and one that ensures we can begin the hard work of restoring our health-care system."
"The Health Care Services Collective Agreements Act will bring a conclusion to the disputes with the B.C. Nurses Union and the Health Sciences Association," Bruce said. "And it will ensure that B.C. is competitive and a choice destination for nurses and health-care professionals from across the country and around the globe."
The act includes the following key elements:
Health Science Workers
The legislation also includes all elements agreed to during negotiations and the employer's last offers. The legislation will include changing designated days off for nurses to ensure that overtime is paid only when part-time nurses work in excess of a full-time week.
The full text of the premier's speech is available at http://www.gov.bc.ca/prem/popt/speech/Aug_7_hlth_care_leg.htm
FACTSHEET – SETTLEMENT OF HEALTH CARE DISPUTES
Ministry of Skills Development and Labour
Jan. 9: Bargaining begins between B.C. Nurses Union (BCNU) and Health Employers Association of B.C. (HEABC).
Jan. 29: Bargaining begins between Health Sciences Association (HSA) and HEABC.
April 9: Nurses start overtime ban.
April 17: Vince Ready appointed as mediator to help resolve nurses dispute.
April 20: Stephen Kelleher appointed as mediator in HSA dispute.
May 18: HSA begins an overtime ban, escalates to rotating withdrawal of services, and finally to provincewide strike the first week of June.
June 5: Nurses vote 96 per cent to reject HEABC's proposal that aligns B.C. with Alberta.
June 20: Government legislates 50-day cooling-off period and provides further mediation from Ready and Kelleher.
July 27: Ready and Kelleher report to government that the parties are still hundreds of millions of dollars apart.
Aug. 6: BCNU presents a new proposal to government that narrows the gap between the employers' and unions' offers but is still millions of dollars above the employers' offer.
Aug. 7: Government extends cooling-off period for 10 days.
The Health Care Services Collective Agreements Act will end the current nurses and health science workers' labour disputes in British Columbia.
The agreements will include:
All elements of the previous agreements.
All items already agreed to through negotiations.
The employers' last offer.
The nurses' agreement will also include:
Changes to designated days off ensuring overtime is paid only when part-time nurses work more than a full-time week.
Flexibility for casual call-in for reasons other than seniority.
Move from six- to nine-year pay grid, like Alberta.
Highlights of Agreements
A 23.5 per cent cumulative wage increase for the average nurse over three years.
Highest mileage rate in Canada.
Health Sciences Workers
A three-year agreement that maintains the highest wages in Canada.
Wage increases of 5.5 per cent to 14.25 per cent over three years depending upon whether workers are in hard-to-fill positions like physiotherapists, occupational therapists, pharmacists and medical technologists.
Note: 60 per cent of health science workers are in high-demand professions.
Contact: Michael Lancaster, Communications 250 356-825