Late Sunday, May 2, 2004, an Agreement was reached between the BC Government, the BC Federation of Labour, the Facilities Bargaining Association (“FBA”), representing support workers employed in health care facilities in British Columbia, and the Health Employers Association of BC (“HEABC”), representing health care employers.
The Agreement ends a labour dispute which began with a four day legal strike by the FBA, but escalated to include illegal strike action and “protest” picketing after back to work legislation (“Bill 37”) was introduced by the BC Government on April 28, 2004.
The Agreement includes the following elements:
- The compensation reductions required under Bill 37 will take effect on May 1, 2004 instead of April 1, 2004.
- The Government has agreed to limit the number of jobs eliminated due to contracting out between April 1, 2004 and March 30, 2006 to a maximum of 600 full-time positions, with no more than 400 full-time positions reduced between April 1, 2004 and March 1, 2005.
- The Government will make available $25 million towards severance pay for current regular employees who leave health sector employment as a result of contracting out.
- HEABC has agreed on its own behalf and on behalf of its members not to take any sanctions against FBA members provided they return to work for their regular shifts as of May 3, 2004.
- The parties have also agreed that any issues not resolved by May 31, 2004 will be submitted to arbitrator Vince Ready.