Public Sector Employers’ Council (PSEC) includes 8 Ministers of the BC Government and 7 public sector employer representatives. One of these representatives is the Chair of the University Public Sector Employers’ Association (of which all BC university presidents are members, including SFU’s President Petter). PSEC must approve all newly negotiated collective agreements for all public sector employees including health, education, social services, etc.
The Chair of PSEC is the Minister of Finance, Michael de Jong. There is no mention of PSEC in any government Budget or Service Plan; therefore, it is difficult to determine the consequences of decisions made by PSEC on provincial budgets versus the decisions of the Liberal Government.
During our last round of bargaining the PSEC mandate changed from its 2010, net-zero, mandate, to a co-operative gains mandate in January 2012. This new mandate set out co-operative gains as a way for public sector employers to give their workers a wage increase; however, the money must come from within existing budgets. These PSEC mandates are based on monetary changes (changes to the collective agreement that will cost money). The 2014 PSEC mandate is called the Economic Stability Mandate and “offers public sector employees an opportunity to participate in the Province’s economic growth through the Economic Stability Dividend – if actual real GDP growth is one percentage point above forecast real GDP growth, then a 0.5 per cent wage increase would result, beyond whatever wage increase had been negotiated in the contract.”
This mandate must be read within the context of current cuts to the operating grants of BC Universities. SFU has seen the amount of money it receives from the government cut by millions of dollars. TSSU understands the difficult position of the university trying to function with ever decreasing operating grants; however, this difficulty isn’t immediately apparent as senior administration continues to receive wage increases and SFU found the money to create a new VP External portfolio at the budgeted cost of $1 million per year.
In the past, SFU’s administration has taken an extreme stance with its own mandate. In the 2010-2012 bargaining round, SFU refused to share their formal mandate with us, but told us they did not even have a mandate “to turn on the lights.” They used this line for over a year to resist even the smallest language changes that have no impact on SFU’s budget. In any case, the mandate and the context it exists in are important considerations for all members to understand.
You can find the PSEC mandate on the internet here.