“It is time to put what is there in front of our members,”
Those are the words of BC General Employees Union President Stephanie Smith after a tentative three-year deal was reached with the province today (Wednesday).
It includes wage increases of over 10% and Smith believes the contract will benefit their 33-thousand members.
“The first year of the agreement with the 25 cents an hour and the 3.24% actually exceed the cost of living for 2021-22. In terms of years two and three, there is a lot in the collective agreement that is going to put money into members’ pockets.”
“We are at the point now where it’s time to put what is there in front of our members and let them have their say. We have sort of said from the beginning that our members weren’t really asking for anything different than what MLA’s were afforded. It became evident again to our bargaining committee that we were now approaching a place where what was in the agreement was enough that members needed to see it.”
The news comes as a sigh of relief for the hospitality industry, mainly pubs and restaurants.
Jeff Guignard with the Alliance of Beverage Licensees says after four liquor distribution centres in BC hit the picket lines for two weeks, it will be a while before shelves at government-run locations are full again.
“The hospitality industry is pretty resilient so it will bounce back and liquor stores will do the same. But, it’s going to take probably upwards of a month just to clear the backlog of inventory that was at those distribution centres trying to get out there.”
“Over the next several weeks, you’ll notice those holes on shelves start to be filled slowly at either government or private-run liquor stores. This is going to take some time yet.”
The new deal covers 33 thousand members, 14 hundred of which are located in Prince George.
Timelines for the ratification votes will be confirmed in the coming days.