01/27/2014 07:31 EST | Updated 03/29/2014 05:59 EDT

B.C. government union OK's deal that provides wage hike, other benefits

VICTORIA - A union representing about 25,000 government workers in British Columbia has ratified a deal that provides a 5.5 per cent wage increase over five years and ties further pay hikes to economic growth.

The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union says members voted 68.5 per cent in favour of the contract that was negotiated in November.

The union says the deal also provides improvements to health and welfare benefits, employment security and the job-selection process.

The contract runs from April 1, 2014 until March 31, 2019.

Union president Darryl Walker says both sides were able to work productively and negotiate a deal that delivers real gains for members despite some tough economic times.

Minister of Finance Michael de Jong says the contract provides stability for employees, employers and British Columbians and protects taxpayers by tying wage hikes to real economic growth.