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Community social services workers resume strike Monday

Workers in the community social services sector will resume strikeaction on Monday, March 15. Pickets will go up at selected worksites inthe Lower Mainland and Prince George.

The four unions representing workers in this sector -- B.C. Governmentand Service Employees' Union, Canadian Union of Public Employees,Hospital Employees' Union and Health Sciences Association - say thegovernment's refusal to address wage and benefit discrimination despitea two-day province-wide strike earlier this week leaves the unions withno other choice but to escalate job action.

"The government should live up to its promises to the women and men whocare for and work with the most vulnerable members of our society toavoid further job action," said Cliff Andstein, chief negotiator forthe BCGEU.

"It's outrageous that a government that heralds equality for women isrefusing to make good on its commitment to end wage discriminationagainst women in community social services," Andstein said.

"It's a further outrage that thousands of other public sector workersaccepted a two-year wage freeze so that the wages of the lowest paidworkers - those in the community social services sector - could bebrought up, and now the government is saying there's no more money.

"This dispute is about fairness and justice. Our members providecritical services to thousands of British Columbians every day. Theyenable people with physical or developmental disabilities to live withdignity and independence in their own communities. They provide safehouses for battered women. They care for our children. It's time thegovernment recognized the value of their work."

Community social services workers are employed in four sectors:community living, family and children's services, services to women,and child care. They work with people who have physical ordevelopmental disabilities in group homes, vocational programs, adultday care and child care centres. They provide occupational therapy, dayprograms, outreach, and help parents with disabilities look after theirchildren. The broad sector includes transition house workers,counsellors, youth workers, speech therapists, special needs pre-schoolteachers, infant development consultants, and addiction counsellors.

HSA represents approximately 675 members in this sector.

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

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