B.C. nurses approve of five-year agreement with 5.5 per cent wage increase

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VICTORIA - The British Columbia Nurses Union has voted to ratify a five-year contact that gives 40,000 of its members a 5.5 per cent wage increase.

The deal includes government commitments to contribute $4 million to programs targeting workplace violence and rural recruitment of nurses.

Health Minister Terry Lake says the agreement was reached under the government's Economic Stability Mandate, which includes provisions for extra wage increases if B.C.'s economy exceeds annual forecasts.

B.C.'s unionized government workers received a small pay increase last year after Statistics Canada reported the provincial economy grew 3.2 per cent in 2014, exceeding independent projections of 2.3 per cent.

Nurses union president Gayle Duteil says the deal gives nurses a stronger voice to shape provincial health care policy.

Health employers interim president Tony Collins says the contract builds on commitments to improve patient care and working conditions for health care professionals.

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