Hospital pharmacies start rotating strikes

Kamloops Daily News

Pressing for a wage hike, members of the Health Sciences Association of B.C. are set to begin rotating strikes at hospitals across the province.

The strikes begin Thursday when pharmacy services at hospitals, including Royal Inland Hospital, will be reduced to essential service levels from 9 a.m. to midnight.

There will be no picket lines.

RIH was still assessing on Tuesday how the hospital would respond to the job action, a health authority spokeswoman said.

Pharmacists are frustrated by a lack of progress at the bargaining table, said HSA president Reid Johnson. Recruitment and retention is a growing problem because the retail sector pays higher wages, he said.

The provincial government had earlier proposed a wage rollback but withdrew that threat.

Next in line for job action are all medical imaging technologists -- those who deliver X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, ultrasound and other imaging procedures. They will reduce work to essential services from midnight Thursday to midnight Friday.

Public health inspectors will also reduce services to essential levels that day.

The contract expired March 31.