Public Sector Bargaining
Public sector bargaining has been conducted under the Public Sector Employers’ Council model since 1994. Government, via the PSEC Secretariat, sets a bargaining mandate for the public sector, which all public sector employers are statutorily bound to observe. UNBC, like other employers who are subject to the Public Sector Employers’ Act, must have its bargaining plans approved by the Minister responsible for the Act before substantive negotiations with the union can begin. In addition, the PSEC Secretariat must review and approve all language and costing prior to being tabled, and once a tentative agreement has been reached, PSEC must approve it.
UNBC bargains under the B.C. government’s Sustainable Services Negotiating Mandate, which applies to all public sector employers with unionized employees whose collective agreements expire on or after December 31, 2018.
- The Sustainable Services Negotiating Mandate is about improving the delivery of services for people in B.C., and balancing the need for fair and reasonable wage increases with outcomes that are affordable and managed within the fiscal plan.
- The Mandate is designed to support government's core priorities and enhance and modernize the delivery of services that British Columbians rely on.
- It ensures the fiscal sustainability of our province while providing fair compensation.
Communicating During Bargaining
The Employer understands and accepts that the Unions are the exclusive bargaining agents for our unionized employees. As such, the Employer must conduct all negotiations with the Unions, and cannot negotiate directly with employees. However, that does not mean that the Employer cannot communicate directly with employees about what is happening during negotiations. Rather, it is entitled to keep its employees informed about the status of negotiations or proposals previously made at the bargaining table. As the BC Labour Relations Board wrote in BC Sugar Refining Co, BCLRB No. 49/78:
"...we want to state emphatically that the trade-union is not granted a lock on the minds of the employees when it obtains the certification to represent them. Anybody can communicate with the employees, including their employer. (Assuming, of course, that there is no coercion, intimidation, or attempt to undermine the bargaining rights of the trade-union.) Indeed, the ultimate freedom here lies with the employees.
It is important for employees to have a balanced understanding of what occurs during labour negotiations so that they can make informed decisions about matters that will affect their personal and professional lives. For that reason, the Employer will continue, as appropriate, to communicate directly with its employees about the status of negotiations.