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The 20,000 members of B.C.s Hospital Employees Union (which is affiliated with CUPE) staged a four-hour walk-out on Tuesday, May 26, to warn the provinces NDP government to start serious bargaining. The HEU was participating in a multi-union coalition action which saw some 40,000 health-care walk off the job.

Hospitals, long-term care facilities and rehabilitation centres were affected by the walk-outs. More walk-outs were being planned for later in the week.

Chris Allnutt, Secretary-Business Manager of the HEU and the spokesperson for the multi-union coalition told the media the unions goal is to achieve a settlement that improves conditions for caregivers and strengthens B.C.s public Medicare system.

Key union bargaining demands include reducing on-the-job injury rates, safer workloads, benefit improvements for disabled workers, a fair wage increase, pay equity increases and measures to protect public Medicare from privatization.

HEUs contract expired March 31. For further information visit the HEU Web site: www.heu.org

HEU is the BC Health Services Division of CUPE.