12/21/2012 05:28 EST | Updated 02/20/2013 05:12 EST

B.C. health workers from 11 unions vote to ratify contract giving them wage hike

VANCOUVER - Health-care workers from 11 unions in B.C. have voted 91-per-cent in favour of a two-year contract.

They include assistants in X-ray departments and pharmacies, trades and maintenance staff and administrative workers in various settings such as hospitals, long-term care facilities and health authority offices.

The contract gives the 46,000 employees a three-per-cent wage hike and ensures a moratorium on layoffs due to contracting out until March 2014, when the deal expires.

Bonnie Pearson, spokeswoman for the Facilities Bargaining Unit, which represents all the unions, says members have approved an agreement that gives them security and stability in the workplace.

She says nine months of negotiations were particularly difficult because of the government's restrictive wage-hike policy for public-sector employees.