The BC Nurses Union has voted 85 percent in favour of ratifying a new collective agreement with the province.
The five year agreement will give nurses a 5.5 percent raise over 5 years, but will also see big strides in other areas.
Nurses Union President Gayle Duteil says they’ve secured a 2 million dollar fund that will provide grants to nurses who take jobs in rural settings.
“We’ve seen impact when these types of incentives are provided. So we are pleased moving forward and we are hoping that it improves some of the staffing levels in some of the more difficult to fill areas in the Northern Health authority”
The agreement also adds another 850 specialty nursing education seats and creates two secretariat positions on policy and staffing which will “give nurses a seat at the table”
Duteil says the provinces 20 biggest Emergency Rooms will also be getting 24-7 security “who are going to be responsible for dealing with the public or unruly patients and visitors.”
“Nurses do not want to be at the end of a fist, nor should they be involved in taking down patients.”
The 5 year agreement is retroactive so is already two years in. Dutiel notes that they will be making sure the province holds up to it’s side of the bargain, saying a driving factor behind the long wait for this contract was a lack of follow through from the province the last time around.