British Columbia

B.C. public-sector job action closer after talks fail

B.C.'s largest public-sector union has asked its mediator to "book out" of contract talks with the provincial government, bringing the possibility of job action one step closer.

BCGEU says it has exhausted all negotiating options

BCGEU president Darryl Walker, centre left, leads a recent rally in support of the province's striking teachers. (BCGEU)

The largest public-sector union in British Columbia says it has asked a mediator to "book out" of contract talks with the provincial government.

The B.C. Government Employees Union says two days of mediation this week failed make any headway.

The union representing about 65,000 members says its bargaining committee did not take the decision lightly but has exhausted all its options.

"After six months of negotiations, which included a strike vote and two weeks of mediation, we have exhausted all options and made very little progress," BCGEU president Darryl Walker said in a statement on the union's website late Friday.

The union had sought the appointment of the mediator just two weeks ago. Mediator Debbie Cameron was then appointed to try to resolve the dispute.

The government and union have been talking since January, but negotiations are deadlocked over several issues, including wages.

"Our members have not had a wage increase for more than three years. Inflation has eroded their spending power by more than five per cent over that time," Walker said.

Union members voted 82 per cent in favour of job action last month to back contract demands.