Electronic balloting ended on January 30th revealing a clear majority of the 827 FSA members that cast their ballots indicating their concurrence of a settlement agreement.
Executive Director of the FSA, Paul Reniers, said the newly ratified agreement includes wage increases of 1% on March 21, 2013; July 1, 2013; December 1, 2013 and April 1, 2014, meaning an overall 4% wage increase over the life of the contract.
Reniers said it’s possible the contract was only ratified based on the feeling that there was no better option, not because of a genuine fulfillment with the terms it carried.
“No one in the union was suggesting that this actually solved any of the issues that we were looking to deal with in bargaining,” said Reniers.
[pullquote]”No one in the union was suggesting that this actually solved any of the issues that we were looking to deal with in bargaining”[/pullquote]In a meeting with the FSA members in November last year, BCIT President Don Wright stated he was in support of the requests being made by the union’s members and that he would do what he could to help achieve the results the FSA was hoping for.
“It was pretty apparent that the more action we took, the more the government moved and that’s a sad lesson to tolerate,” said Reniers, “but Don [Wright] did help.”
Reniers said that the prospect of waiting any longer for a wage increase was difficult to bear. Especially because the FSA had not seen a wage increase between July 1, 2009 and March 31, 2013.
According to Reniers, there were other viable options available instead of ratifying the agreement.
“A real option would have been to probably wait and see if a new government was going to give BCIT more latitude,” Reniers told The Link, “or wait and see if BCIT was going to take a different approach to try and get more done with their authority.”
Reniers said that after three and a half days of strike action, the union wasn’t sure if any more job action would have had any impact on the end result.
According to Reniers, the British Columbia Government Employees’ Union (BCGEU) support staff that have also been on strike, also ratified their agreement on Wednesday evening. The BCGEU vocational instructors have not yet ratified an agreement.
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Neetu was born and raised in the Okanagan Valley (minus the few toddler years she spent living in Punjab, India where her line of heritage is from). She moved to the lower mainland to attend BCIT and is now in her graduating year of the Broadcast and Online Journalism Program. Her writing and editing for Link magazine often happens late at night because when she’s not at school she works as a reporter and anchor for CKNW Newstalk 980 and is also involved in the start up of a charity called the Beautiful World Foundation. She loves to travel and feels fortunate to be in a field where she can share the stories of interesting and inspiring people from around the world.