Those on strike include government service employees like liquor store cashiers, and certain ICBC employees, as well as employees in Ministries like the local Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Ministry office. However, local government services deemed essential, like court houses, forest firefighters and social workers are unaffected.
Today's strike is the latest move in ongoing contract disputes between public sector workers and the B.C. government. Up until today, government workers were taking part in rolling strike action, including a one-day job action by Ministry of Forests employees in Dawson Creek on August 20. Scott McCannell, PEA Executive Director, says his members are "profoundly concerned" about the Government's "marginalization" of professionals in the public service.
"Our professional members have in almost all cases chosen public service because of their commitment to serving the public interest and the decision for them to take strike action for the first time in the PEA's 38-year history has not been taken lightly," he says.
BCGEU president Darryl Walker says the province's offer of a two per cent wage increase starting July 1, 2012 and a 1.5 per cent increase July 1, 2013 isn't good enough. Instead, he says members want a 3.5 per cent increase starting April 1 and a cost of living increase in the second year.