B.C. health unions reach tentative five-year contract; pay hike included

BURNABY, B.C. - A tentative, five-year contract agreement has been reached between 47,000 B.C. health-care workers and their employers.

The agreement was reached with the help of mediator Vince Ready and would give members of the 11-union Facilities Bargaining Association a wage increases of 5.5 per cent over five years.

The association says the deal would also limit contracting out, expand employment options, protect benefits, and it addresses issues related to paramedics.

Members of the association were left without a contract at the end of March, and a month later the group voted 96 per cent in favour of a strike mandate.

Hospital Employees' Union spokeswoman Bonnie Pearson says the vote helped secure the contract, adding members were determined to protect jobs and improve working and caring conditions.

The union members will receive more details next week, but the HEU, which is the largest union in the group, has already recommended ratification.

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