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After nine months of bargaining health science professionals are frustrated with the lack of progress in bargaining and lack of willingness from the employer to negotiate a fair and reasonable agreement.

Job action will continue this week starting tomorrow at 9 a.m. when hospital pharmacists will reduce work to essential services only. Thursday at midnight, the rotating job action will move to all public health inspectors, with staff performing only essential services. Medical and diagnostic imaging will also reduce services.

The government showed little interest in bargaining until we announced that strike action would commence,” said CUPE bargaining committee memberChris Losito. “It was only this week, with the help of mediator Vince Ready, that the government tabled its position at the bargaining table. After seeing their position it is clear we have a long way to go, however we hope that this week is the beginning of meaningful negotiations.”

Pharmacists will kick off the job action tomorrow,” said Losito. “Friday Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) and Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) will take action to highlight the almost $17 per hour difference in wages between these professionals in BC and Alberta.”

Losito says that EHOs and PHIs work to protect public health through efforts to prevent the spread of communicabledisease, highlight food safety and ensure safe drinking water and that they also oversee air quality, land use, tobacco control, emergency response, and emerging environmental public health initiatives.

CUPE represents over 500 members in the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA). HSA is the lead union in the 17,000 member bargaining association. Other unions in the bargaining association are BCGEU, PEA, and HEU.

For all bargaining updates and information on CUPE’s health sector in BC visit http://bcchs.cupe.ca/.