March 05, 2012 at 10:44 AM
Health unions frustrated over slow pace of talks
After three weeks of negotiations, unions representing 43,000 health care workers are expressing frustration over health employers’ unwillingness to make any substantial progress at the bargaining table.
The multi-union Facilities Bargaining Association says that despite nine days of scheduled talks, representatives of the Health Employers Association of B.C. have spent less than ten hours in face-to-face discussions.
FBA spokesperson Bonnie Pearson says that the FBA bargaining committee is frustrated with the slow pace of talks.
This past week, two days were set aside to address issues specific to emergency health services which have been transferred into the health sector. Ambulance paramedics, dispatch personnel and related administrative staff are now included in the Facilities subsector negotiations.
But Pearson says that health employers did not identify any collective agreement changes that were necessary to operationalize the transfer of the ambulance service into the health sector.
The FBA is concerned that the transfer will be yet another employer excuse for further delays at the bargaining table.
There are a dozen unions in the FBA representing health care workers in hospitals, residential care facilities, emergency health services, shared services (like supply chain and logistics) and diagnostic and treatment centres.
FBA members include a wide range of direct patient care, emergency, support and administrative workers across more than 270 job classifications.
Talks continue on March 7.