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Halifax Home care workers in Lunenburg and Queens Counties say their concerns are being ignored by politicians and the Department of Health. The workers, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), met on Monday evening in Bridgewater to discuss working conditions and monetary issues. A representative from the Department of Health, Bob St. Laurent, declined to meet with the employees, and only one MLA attended the meeting.

Home care workers are being left in the cold by this government which refuses to address the fact that working conditions are unsafe and salaries woefully inadequate, says CUPE National Rep Kathy MacLeod. These employees are often on the road late at night, alone, with no cell phone, and under treacherous driving conditions. And, because of client confidentiality, workers family members usually have no idea where they are.

MacLeod says the employees are also frustrated with the very low rate of compensation they receive compared to personal care workers in nursing homes, who do similar, and often less demanding, work.

These workers are changing colostomy bags and performing a host of other light nursing duties, says MacLeod. They are unassisted, unsupervised and very much underpaid for their responsibilities.

MacLeod says home care workers in Lunenburg and Queens Counties earn as little as $7.14 per hour, and receive no benefits.

CUPE Local 3936, which represents home care workers at Lunenburg County Home Support Services, is currently in negotiations for a new contract. Talks have broken off for employees at Queens County Home Care, members of CUPE Local 3885, and they are now in a legal strike position.

For more information please contact Kathy MacLeod at 455-4180, 445-4116 or (902) 578-4612 (cell).