ALMOST 25,000 BCGEU members employed in the B.C. public service have a five-year contract in place under the B.C. government’s Economic Stability Mandate for 2014 negotiations, Finance Minister Michael de Jong announced on Monday.

The BCGEU has ratified the master agreement negotiated in November, which was reached four months in advance of the current agreement’s expiry on March 31, 2014.

The term of the new agreement is from April 1, 2014, to March 31, 2019. It provides for a modest 5.5 per cent wage increase over the five years of the term, with potential for additional increases if the B.C. economy exceeds the annual forecasts set by the Economic Forecast Council during the last four years of the agreement.

This agreement covers almost 25,000 BCGEU members employed in the B.C. public service working in occupations that provide direct government services, including public safety, social services, environmental management and others.

The 2014 mandate applies to all public-sector employers whose collective agreements expire on or after December 31, 2013. Currently, two other agreements are in the ratification process.

The government’s Economic Stability Mandate provides public sector employers the ability to negotiate longer-term agreements within a fixed fiscal envelope, and offers employees an opportunity to participate in the province’s economic growth through the Economic Stability Dividend. Settlements are expected to be unique and to reflect priorities negotiated to ensure labour stability and affordable service delivery throughout B.C.