Finance Minister Mike de Jong reported a substantial surplus for the last fiscal year

B.C. government unions to get ‘modest’ raises

Economic growth exceeds forecast, triggers extra pay for 300,000 teachers, health care and social services staff in February

Most unionized provincial employees in health, education and other jobs will get an extra raise of just under one half of one per cent in February.

About 80 per cent of B.C. public sector unions have signed employment contracts under the province’s “economic stability mandate.” That gives them raises of 5.5 per cent over five years, plus a share of economic growth in each year it exceeds the independent forecast used in the provincial budget.

Statistics Canada has finalized the growth of the B.C. economy at 3.2 per cent for 2014, substantially more than the finance ministry’s independent forecast council estimate of 2.3 per cent. That triggers the contract provision to increase pay for provincial employees by 0.45 per cent starting in February.

In dollar terms, the finance ministry calculates that a grade one medical technologist will see an increase of $300 a year, or $970 over the rest of the contract term. A teacher will get $346 a year, and an education assistant gets $109 a year.

[List of affected unions here.]

Finance Minister Mike de Jong said the growth of gross domestic product reflects a strong year for exports and some employment growth in 2014. Business investment was also up 5.4 per cent last year, and there was a 3.5 per cent increase in household consumption spending province-wide.

The outlook for the current year does not look as good for additional increases, he said, but the agreements are “one way” and there are no reductions for employees if the economy under-performs. Over the past 14 years, the B.C. economy has outperformed forecasts about half the time.

The province and its agencies such as universities and Crown corporations employ 387,000 people, of which about 313,000 are unionized. About 20 per cent of those employees have not yet settled agreements under the economic stability mandate, with the largest group being the 42,000-member B.C. Nurses’ Union.

About 10,000 staff at University of B.C., Simon Fraser and University of Victoria have also not signed new agreements.

 

Just Posted

Update: Wildfire northwest of Kamloops jumps from 60 to 800 hectares

Ground crews and aircraft are responding to an estimated 800 hectare wildfire approximately 55 kilometers northwest of Kamloops, near the Deadman Vidette Road.

Shuswap Lake still on the rise, but rate slows

Regional district recommends residents make an evacuation plan.

B.C. Interior flood risk diminishing

Snowmelt receding but rainfall impact remains a concern

Trustee won’t delay Downtown Activity Centre sale

Salmon Arm city council had asked for an extension, bid process will run until July 6

Application proceeds for ALR exclusion

City council opted not to take the advice of its Agricultural Advisory… Continue reading

Vancouver Island girl scores with winning song for BC Summer Games

‘Colours’ is a perfect theme for 2018 BC Summer Games

B.C. pipeline goes ahead despite scrapped Pacific Northwest LNG

NEB approves amendment for $1.4-billion natural gas North Montney Mainline Project

Feds limit chinook fishery to help killer whale recovery

Chinook is main food source for only 76 southern residents killer whales left

B.C. mom who died just before daughter’s wedding wanted family to be happy: twin

Ann Wittenberg was pulled into the ocean while on a surf board in Tofino last weekend

Courtenay-Alberni MP calls for lifeguards at popular surf spot near Tofino

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is defending its decision to cancel the surf guard program.

Harvey Weinstein to surrender in sex misconduct probe: officials

Would be first criminal charge against Weinstein since scores of women came forward

High water forces closure of a boat launch on Shuswap Lake

Boat launch on Eagle Bay Road shut down, two others in Sorrento remain open

Fuel truck crash closes B.C. highway, sends two to hospital

The Trans-Canada Highway on Vancouver Island is expected to be closed until Thursday evening

Column: A tender portrait of school life

By Joanne Sargent, Observer contributor I would venture to say that most… Continue reading

Most Read