Health science workers pressure union for new contract, plan rotating strikes

Pharmacy services at B.C. hospitals to be reduced to essential services only

Negotiations between the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA) and Health Employers Association of British Columbia (HEABC) are ongoing and will continue throughout the week.

HSPBA president Reid Johnson said pharmacists are especially frustrated with the recent lack of progress at the bargaining table.

“This is the group of highly trained and specialized members of the health care team who government targeted for a 15 per cent wage cut earlier this year — even as recruitment and retention continues to be a growing problem as the retail sector pays more competitive wages,” he said in a press release. “After eight months at the bargaining table, we have yet to see a wage offer of any kind for any health science professionals,” he said.

Their contract expired March 31.

Rotating strikes will begin Dec. 6, and will see pharmacy services at B.C. hospitals reduced to essential service levels from 9 a.m. to midnight. This will occur from midnight on Thursday to midnight on Friday. Surrey Memorial Hospital will be exempt from the rotating strikes due to the closure of the emergency department after suffering from a flood.

Other members participating in the strikes are medical imaging technologists — workers responsible for x-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds, MRIs and other procedures.

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