Saskatchewan health-care workers return to negotiations

Union says job action will be delayed until they review the employers’ latest offer
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 06/02/2011

Saskatchewan’s specialized health-care professionals will suspend any job action as a meeting with employers has been called for next week. The union has been conducting rotating strikes since last month.

The Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan (HSAS), the union representing the 3,000 health workers, says that the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations (SAHO) contacted them with a new offer and the parties will meet next Wednesday.

“Within hours of our news conference [on Tuesday], where we said independent, binding arbitration or a substantially improved contract offer were the only options to avoid an escalation of healthcare strikes in Saskatchewan, SAHO contacted our office seeking a meeting,” says HSAS president, Cathy Dickson.

The union has been seeking an 18.5 per cent wage increase over four years for its members, while SAHO’s most recent offer contained a general wage increase of 7.5 per cent over four years. The offer also had adjustments for select groups of workers and compensation for emergency medical services.

In a press release posted on their website yesterday, HSAS threatens to escalate job action if the meeting next week emerges as a stalling tactic.

About half the HSAS members are considered essential under the province's essential services law. Those members not labeled as essential service in Regina, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Prince Albert and Yorkton have taken part in job action already.

HSAS represents paramedics, hospital pharmacists, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, social workers, dietitians and public health inspectors across the province.

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