Health science professionals call off job action; membership consultation meetings planned after government tries to provoke escalation of strike

VANCOUVER, Dec. 9, 2012 /CNW/ - The Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA) has called off rotating strikes planned for the coming week.

Following three round-the-clock days of talks mediated by veteran labour mediator Vince Ready, the government tabled a proposal just before midnight Saturday for a wage increase and massive concessions. The proposal adds up to a general wage increase of 1.4 per cent over two years - and some health care workers could be facing wage roll backs.

"The proposal dropped on the table by government is so far off the mark that there's no doubt in my mind they are trying to provoke our members into escalating job action, and giving the government an excuse to recall the legislature to impose a contract," said Reid Johnson, president of Health Science Association of BC. HSA represents 14,500 of the 17,000 health science professionals covered by the contract.

"We are not going to go down that road. Our members are committed to delivering health care services to British Columbians. Our dispute is not with the people who need those services. It is with a government that refuses to negotiate a fair and reasonable agreement for essential members of the modern health care team.

"We have been at the table for nine months trying to work with health employers to find solutions to the crisis in recruitment and retention that's hurting the system's ability to deliver the quality health care British Columbians deserve."

"Employers refused to bargain. We got Vince Ready involved to kick start talks. He came in, and forced the government to bring a proposal to the table. We now know exactly what government thinks of the value of health science professionals in the public health care system, and we're going to share that with our members and take our direction for next steps from them." Johnson said.

SOURCE: Health Sciences Association of British Columbia

For further information:

Miriam Sobrino, Communications: 604.439.0994 or 604.328.2886 or msobrino@hsabc.org