Regina (June 21, 2011) – The Wall government’s Essential Services legislation, which was supposed to help settle contract negotiations in vital sectors like health care, has instead resulted in gridlock at the bargaining table, and is now directly responsible for the longest health care strike in Saskatchewan history, Health Sciences President Cathy Dickson said today.
“The Wall government’s highly touted labour legislation has bombed out. Instead of solving problems, this bad law has created a host of brand new problems in health care bargaining, making negotiated settlements that much more difficult,” Dickson said from the Health Sciences picket line set up outside Regina’s Pasqua Hospital.
“Although we have been negotiating with health care employers for 27 months, they have no interest in presenting a fair and reasonable contract offer, because they can misuse and abuse the Essential Services legislation to limit strike action. Even worse, this law contains no independent, dispute resolution mechanism to help break contract stalemates, meaning employers feel no pressure to negotiate,” Dickson noted.
“The result is that we are now entering a seventh week of job action, making this the longest health care strike in the history of our province. The law designed to prevent health care strikes is responsible for Saskatchewan’s longest ever health care strike,” Dickson said.
“Saskatchewan people are getting fed up with the refusal of the Wall government and SAHO to either bargain in good faith or agree to send our contract dispute to an independent third party for resolution,” Dickson added.
“67% of the public supported independent, binding arbitration as the best alternative to end the current contract dispute in a recent public opinion poll. The Wall government and SAHO should listen to the public, and agree to the appointment of an independent expert to set the terms of a new contract. Independent, interest-based, binding arbitration is a fair and reasonable solution to the longest health care strike in Saskatchewan history. Let’s end this health care strike and get on with the job of properly staffing our critical health care services,” Dickson concluded.
Health Sciences represents more than three-thousand specialized health care professionals from more than thirty health care professions. Members include: Emergency care workers like Paramedics; Acute care workers like Hospital Pharmacists, Perfusionists, and Respiratory Therapists; Rehab professionals like Physical Therapists and Speech Language Pathologists; and Community-based professionals like Public Health Inspectors, Psychologists and Social Workers.
For Further Information Contact:
Cathy Dickson (President, Health Sciences)