Licensed professionals in BC’s public service have voted 92% in favor of a strike after reaching a stalemate for negotiations, the Professional Employees Association (PEA) said on June 22.
PEA represents more than 1,200 licensed professionals such as agrologists, engineers, foresters, geoscientists, pharmacists, psychologists and veterinarians working across 11 ministries.
The union said wage proposals could not meet the rising cost of living. It said that failing to stay competitive can lead to recruitment and recruitment problems.
“Our members are the scientific experts who are trusted to keep the province safe, and they deserve a salary that reflects the critical work they are doing,” PEA spokeswoman Melissa Moroz said in a statement.
“This result of the strike vote shows that these professionals are willing to take steps to support their demands for fair compensation,” she said. “They are not willing to go down in salary.”
The union represents workers overseeing forestry, mining, fossil fuels, infrastructure, forests and farms.
They have also been convened as part of the government’s response to wildfires and floods.
“With climate change and emergencies an eternally present reality, it is now time for the province to invest in public service professionals,” Moroz said.
Meanwhile, the BC General Employees’ Union said Wednesday that nearly 95 percent of its 33,000 members in its public service have approved a strike vote.
“I could not be more pleased with this strong result,” said Stephanie Smith, chair of the BCGEU and chair of the union’s bargaining committee. “But it was the prelude – the five weeks of intensive organization, pop – up polling sites and the collection of ballot papers – that really forced the public service bureau to change its tune.”
BCGEU says when the strike vote ended, the employer invited them back to the negotiating table. Negotiations resume on Monday.
Members of the unit that conducted the BCGEU strike vote include nature firefighters, social workers, sheriffs and detectives, administrative staff, employees of BC Liquor and Cannabis stores and department stores, as well as conservation officers, field and laboratory workers in the realm of environmental monitoring and more. .