Community social services workers hope premier's comments mean progress at bargaining table

Community social services workers are hoping that statements made earlier this week by the premier will result in new proposals from government negotiators at the bargaining table.

At a news conference Tuesday in Vancouver, the premier restated his government's commitment to low wage redress for community social services workers and expressed optimism that a settlement could be reached.

"I believe the premier's recommitment to low wage redress for community social services workers is very significant," says Marilynn Rust of the Hospital Employees' Union. "And I'll be happy to share his optimism about a possible settlement when we see a new offer on the table from government negotiators."

Rust says community social services workers, now in their sixth week of job action, are frustrated by government's refusal to put a new offer on the table and are concerned about the impact the dispute is having on clients and their families.

"We want to get back to the table as soon as possible," says Rust. "But we owe it to our clients to press for a settlement that will improve working and caring conditions in this undervalued sector."

On Thursday, HEU community social services workers in Victoria, Nanaimo and Port Alberni are off the job. Tomorrow, community social services workers across the province will participate in a variety of actions designed to bring their concerns to MLAs.

This week, BCGEU members escalated their strike to include eight child care agencies. In addition to workers already on strike at other agencies around the province, workers at transition houses and other services to women are taking job action two days a week.

CUPE members are on strike at four community living group homes in Port Alberni and the Children's Foundation home in Vancouver.

Community social services workers work in a variety of community agencies providing support for community living, family and children's services, services to women, and child care. The workers are represented by the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU), Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Hospital Employees' Union (HEU), and Health Sciences Association (HSA).


For more information contact:
Rebecca Maurer, Director of Communications
(604) 439-0994