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Tuesday, 10 May 2011 09:04

UPDATE: HSAS rejects offer, suspends bargaining

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The Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan has rejected a proposal from health care employers and the Wall government as “totally inadequate” and has suspended further talks until employers and the government can confirm that they have a fair and reasonable contract offer to make, Health Sciences President Cathy Dickson said.


"What health care employers and the Wall government claimed was a serious proposal, in fact was a market-adjusted wage rate for primarily one group of our members, EMS workers, who are the lowest paid EMS workers in Western Canada. Public exposure of the service problems rampant in Saskatchewan’s ambulance services, embarrassed health care employers and the government into action. That is one small step for that one group, but does nothing to deal with the many other professions Health Sciences represents,” Dickson said.


“This inadequate response will do nothing to solve the chronic under-staffing of our professions as a whole, and nothing to improve recruitment and retention of our many other professionals. For the remainder of our members, the 7.5% wage adjustment over four years is still all that is being offered, with no proposal for maternity leave benefits, and numerous contract take-aways still on the table,” Dickson added.


“It’s clear that health care employers and the Wall government under-value and disrespect the important work being done by specialized health care professionals. That’s why we have suspended bargaining, and will soon have further announcements with respect to additional strike action that will highlight health care service issues around the province,” Dickson said.


“Even worse, the employers and the government continue to mislead the public about the chronic under-staffing of our professions, and the risks this under-staffing poses for Saskatchewan patients. When the crisis in ambulance services became a public embarrassment for the Wall government it finally took some action. Our best option now is to show the people of Saskatchewan how the government has failed to provide safe levels of health care services in the many other professions we represent,” Dickson said.


“Health Sciences has presented four different contract proposals to resolve this dispute in the past four months, and each time SAHO and the Wall government have said they stand by their unacceptable contract offer. Today was little different. This is certainly no way to manage Saskatchewan health care or to improve the recruitment and retention of the specialized professionals working with patients across the province,” Dickson said.


“With bargaining suspended, we renew our public call to send this contract dispute to independent, binding arbitration. We are confident that an independent third party will find the SAHO/Government position to be unfair and unreasonable. If SAHO and the Wall government want the public to believe that their offer is adequate, why won’t they show the courage to put that position to the test through binding arbitration?” Dickson concluded.

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