Labour spring of discontent

Much like the windstorms that have battered the Capital Region this week, a storm is brewing for the provincial government.

Much like the windstorms that have battered the Capital Region this week, a storm is brewing for the provincial government.

As the B.C. Liberals moved to quash the teachers’ strike by passing Bill 22, amid scattered calls by the B.C. Teachers’ Federation to work bell-to-bell only, other unions are lining up to take their shot at the government in the days before their contracts expire.

The B.C. Nurses’ Union and a majority of workers represented by the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union – totalling more than 50,000 individuals – have deals that end March 31.

The nurses want 2,000 more nurses hired in the province to ease workload issues they say are threatening public safety. The lack of investment by government in their workplaces, they say, is leading to professional burnout. The BCGEU wants pay increases after almost three years without.

As with the teachers’ dispute – which became more about working conditions than pay increases when the BCTF recognized ‘net zero’ meant ‘net zero’ – the struggles to create “fair” agreements are ongoing as the province moves through a difficult economic time.

Of course, everyone’s definition of fair is a little different.

The current government, starting in its earliest days in power, slashed programs and funding in its efforts to balance the province’s books. It has restored a certain level of funding to areas cut, but slammed the door on labour spending when the global economic downturn hit.

Now, with the economy still limping along, the government must consider if it is more palatable to endure an increasingly disgruntled work force while keeping the province’s finances from spiralling out of control, or throw unions a financial bone – in the form of modest wage or benefit increases, smaller class sizes or the hiring of additional staff to ease workloads.

How long do we cling to the concept of short-term pain for long-term gain?

That is the biggest question the provincial government must answer as it wades deep into this spring of discontent.

Just Posted

Canadian students are smart cookies

Canadian teachers also among highest paid in the developed world

Local fundraising initiative addresses tampon recall

Period Posse checking donations during 10-day campaign

Langford light up celebration was the biggest one yet

The city spends about $25,000 annually on Christmas lights

Victoria Literacy Connection needs volunteers for new Reading Partner program

The program will be in five Greater Victoria elementary schools

Inspired by her kindergartners, Oak Bay teacher organizes fundraiser

Sally Hallam’s class is creating calendars to help plant trees

Langford elementary school kids test their hand at entrepreneurship

Students sold their own products at a Young Entrepreneurs Fair Friday

POLL: Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

The rain Vancouver Island is famous for is coming down in buckets,… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 11, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Boeser has 2 points as Canucks ground Flyers 5-1

WATCH: Vancouver has little trouble with slumping Philly side

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

‘Ghost bikes’ installed to remember teen cyclists who died in Port Alberni

Cycle Alberni installs memorials to remember teens, remind all about road safety

Most Read