VICTORIA — The BC General Employees Union, one of the largest unions representing public sector workers in British Columbia, says talks with the government have broken down.

A statement from the union says negotiations with the Public Service Agency, which bargains on behalf of the province, collapsed Monday.

The BCGEU was armed with a 94.6 per cent strike mandate when the two sides met last week.

The statement says initial discussions were positive, but the government refused to counter the union’s latest wage proposal and talks hit an impasse.

Union president Stephanie Smith says a cost-of-living clause and wage protection from inflation are key demands for the 33,000 members of the public service bargaining unit, but the government’s offer amounts to a wage cut.

The statement says the BCGEU is now planning strategic, targeted job action and finalizing essential services with the assistance of the Labour Relations Board.

More than 180 collective agreements covering nearly 400,000 workers must be renewed in B.C. this year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2022.

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