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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Five-year agreement covering 47,000 B.C. health-care workers ratified

VANCOUVER - A contract covering 47,000 health-care workers in British Columbia has been ratified by the 11 unions involved.

The five-year deal giving workers a 5.5 per cent wage increase and a cap on contracting out of jobs was ratified by a vote of 64.6 per cent.

The agreement covers employees in various health-care settings including hospitals, care homes and emergency services.

Bonnie Pearson, with the Hospital Employees Union, which represents about 85 per cent of the workers, says the new contract provides some certainty and stability in a sector that's been racked by privatization and restructuring.

The other unions are the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the International Union of Operating Engineers and the Pulp, Paper and Woodworkers' union.

Workers include care aides, ambulance paramedics, records staff, technicians, dispatchers, trades and maintenance workers and cleaning and dietary staff.

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