Update on essential services for direct B.C. Government workers bargaining unit of the BCGEU

July 4, 2012

Many of you have asked questions about essential services. Here are some key things you need to know.

At the end of March 2012, the Master Bargaining Committee reached agreement about essential service staffing levels. The designation of essential services involves identifying the facilities and levels of service needed to prevent a threat to the health, safety or welfare of BC residents per s. 72 of the Labour Relations Code. The parties were not permitted to commence any job action until the essential services designation process has been completed.

The parties chose to negotiate the levels without the involvement of the Labour Relations Board, which could have resulted in a lengthy period of delay. The parties have now signed off on a working document that has been forwarded to Area Strike Coordinators.

  • Many of you have questions about your worksite and whether your position has been designated essential. If the union takes the decision to pursue job action at your workplace, Zone and Picket Captains will know how you and your worksite will be affected.
  • Levels are close to 100% for our health care facilities and correction facilities. In the Ministry of Children and Family Development, Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Social Development there are significant essential service designations as well.
  • The union ensured that excluded staff will be replacing some of our members performing front line social work, probation, health care and correction living unit duties. For other ministries, many of our members have been deemed non-essential and can participate in job action.

The union is required to serve strike notice 48 hours prior to commencing any further job action. No decisions will be taken without providing notice to you and how you will be impacted and whether your position is deemed essential.

The union is reviewing these designations on a regular basis as we identify targets for job action in the coming weeks and months.


In solidarity,

Darryl Walker
BCGEU President