B.C. health workers end illegal strike

Union wants to return to bargaining table

British Columbia health workers who walked off the job July 23 ended their illegal strike and went back to work on Wednesday.

The province’s Labour Relations Board had earlier ruled any work stoppage would be illegal and the Health Employer's Association of British Columbia was planning to appear before B.C. Supreme Court to get further judicial support for the labour board ruling.

The Health Services Association, representing 14,000 paramedical workers in the province, said that the union had no choice but to defy the order from the labour board but HSA union president Cindy Stewart said they did not want to appear to disrespect the court.

The HSA called the illegal strike when employers put the same offer on the table which members had already rejected.

The employers say that there is not enough money in the system to increase wages, at least not to the level demanded by union members. The X-ray technicians, pharmacists and pathologists originally asked for a 24 per cent increase over three years. The employers have offered anywhere from 5.5 per cent for some workers to 15 per cent for others.

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