The provincial government has announced that faculty and support staff of Merritt’s Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT) ratified a new collective agreement under the Shared Recovery Mandate.

Nearly 140 workers, represented by the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators (FPSE), working at NVIT’s two campuses are covered by the new agreement. The three year term set out in the agreement spans from April 1, 2022, until March 31, 2025, with the new deal laying out wage increases for all three years. 

“These negotiations are focused on providing a fair and reasonable offer to public-sector workers that includes significant inflation protection, while ensuring that government has the resources to continue to invest in building a stronger province for everyone,” noted a release by the province.

“Other achievements in this round of negotiations included the establishment of a working group to develop an Indigenous dispute resolution framework, using NVIT’s four key values as the foundation for collaboration, as well as meaningful improvements to benefits.”

In addition to the focus on dispute resolution and benefits, NVIT faculty and staff will see their wages rise each year of the agreement. Year one provides a $0.25 flat rate raise, which the province said will provide a greater percentage increase for lower-paid employees, along with a 3.24 percent increase. In year two, workers will receive a 5.5 percent increase, plus a potential cost-of-living adjustment to a maximum of 6.75 percent. Year three’s increase is just two percent, maxing out at three percent with a possible cost-of-living adjustment. 

Years one and two also feature a negotiable Flexibility Allocation up to 0.25 percent, allowing employer and employee to find a mutually beneficial number. 

“Currently, about 348,000 provincial public-sector employees are covered by tentative or ratified agreements reached under B.C.’s Shared Recovery Mandate,” said the province.

“The Post-Secondary Employers’ Association (PSEA) is the employer bargaining agent for all 19 public colleges, teaching universities, and institutes in British Columbia’s post-secondary sector.”

The new agreement provides certainty for the faculty and staff of NVIT, who have operated in the Nicola Valley since 1983.