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Health science professionals ratify collective agreement

Health science professionals have voted 90 per cent to accept a four-year agreement.

-Health science professionals play an essential role in the diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of patients," said Health Sciences Association of BC President Cindy Stewart.

-This agreement recognizes the skills, training, and expertise that they bring to the job and is an important first step in ensuring that BC has the health science professionals we need now and in the future."

Highlights of the four-year Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (previously the Paramedical Professional Bargaining Association) agreement include:

  • Wage increases averaging 10.3 per cent over four years;
  • A new, cost-shared Long Term Disability Plan which will reduce employee-paid premiums by 70 percent;
  • Addressing a wage split imposed by the provincial government in 2001, while recognizing the need for ongoing labour market adjustments.
  • Signing bonuses

The agreement is effective April 1, 2006 and expires March 31, 2010.

Stewart said the focus for health science professionals will now be to work with employers and government to find solutions to the challenge of recruiting and retaining these highly specialized members of the health care team.

-This agreement addresses some long-standing collective agreement issues, but the challenge of training and keeping increasingly specialized health science professionals here in B.C. continues," she said.

Chief negotiator Ron Ohmart says the agreement meets the unions key bargaining objectives, including a competitive wage increase, rectifying the government-imposed wage split, and transferring the Long Term Disability plan to the employers.

The agreement covers more than 14,000 health science professionals working in BC hospitals and community health facilities ... including laboratory and medical imaging technologists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, dietitians, respiratory therapists and public health inspectors.

The majority of health science professionals are represented by the Health Sciences Association of BC. Other unions in the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association are the BC Government and Service Employees Union, Professional Employees Association, Canadian Union of Public Employees and Hospital Employees' Union.

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Information: Miriam Sobrino (604) 439-0994 or (604) 328-2886 (cell)

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