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Tuesday, 17 May 2011 09:11

HSAS back on strike

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After taking yesterday off from in hopes of getting permission from the Government of Saskatchewan to go to binding arbitration, Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan members are back on strike — this time in Regina.

HSAS, which have been without a contract since March 31, 2009, has been rotating strikes throughout the province since May 9. They have already struck, and returned back to work, in Prince Albert, Saskatoon and Swift Current. HSAS does not release how long members in one community will be on strike before they switch locations. The locations of each strike are also kept secret until that morning.

Premier Brad Wall stated he would like to see the contract dispute resolved at the bargaining table, but that has not pleased HSAS President Cathy Dickson.

"The Wall government and health care employers claim they don't want to submit our contract dispute to independent, binding arbitration because there is still hope for a negotiated settlement," she said. "That would be helpful if they actually had any plans to negotiate! Both the government and SAHO (Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations) admit they have not changed the public sector mandate and have nothing new to offer our members. What's to negotiate?"

HSAS, which represents 30 specialized health care workers such as addictions counsellors, dietitians, psychologists, social workers and speech-language pathologists, is asking for an 18.5 per cent increase in wages over four years. It's also asking for health regions to stop understaffing itself by using vacancy management. SAHO, which bargains for the government, is offering a 7.5 per cent over four years.

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