B.C. passes legislation forcing new contract on health workers

CBC, Friday August 10 2001, 01:33:23

VICTORIA—The B.C. government has passed legislation that makes the province's nurses among the best paid in the country. But they certainly aren't the happiest.

The bill gives nurses a 23.5-per-cent wage increase that includes benefit concessions.

The legislation covers 37,000 health care professionals in total, including nurses, pharmacists and lab technicians.

Earlier in the day, the nurses had set up illegal pickets outside four hospitals around the province including Vancouver General, Vernon's Jubilee Hospital and a hospital in Nanaimo. Essential services were maintained.

Those pickets came down when officials of the Health Employers Association of B.C. went to court to get a cease and desist order enforced.

It now remains to be seen if the nurses will carry through with their threat of mass resignations. The nurses' union says 5,000 nurses have signed resignation letters.