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St. Johns The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has been promised a meeting with Minister of Finance Joan Marie Aylward to discuss the negative results of an occupational review of hospital trades people.

About 35 CUPE trades people at the Western Memorial Hospital in Cornerbrook pulled a wildcat strike on Friday after hearing the news that their jobs were not going to be reclassified. CUPEs occupational trades review was negotiated in 1998 as part of the last collective agreement and took over two years to complete.

President of CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador, Wayne Lucas, says he spoke with the Finance Minister today about a meeting later this week. Ms. Aylward has promised me she will arrange a meeting before Thursday to discuss CUPEs concerns, he says.

CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador Vice-President Donna Ryan says the review was deemed necessary because regionalization of hospital boards resulted in trades people taking on greater responsibility for larger geographical areas and consequently taking on more supervisory roles.

Hospital trades have long been underpaid and earn considerably less than those in the private sector, she says. Correcting this inequity was something we thought the government agreed to when it signed our last agreement.

It is no surprise that some of our members reacted with extreme disappointment on hearing there would be no change in their classifications.

CUPE represents about 100 trades people in the provinces hospitals, including electricians, painters, carpenters, plumbers, mechanical equipment repairmen, maintenance repairmen and power engineers.

For more information please contact Wayne Lucas at (709) 727-2509 (cell) or Donna Ryan (709) 632-0980 (cell).