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HALIFAX Queens home support workers walked off the job at 8:00 a.m. this morning over unresolved bargaining issues. The 35 employees, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3885, have been in a legal strike position since last December.

The employees have set up a picket line in front of the offices of Queens County Home Support in Liverpool.

The main unresolved issue is still wages, says CUPE National Rep Kathy MacLeod. We have members making as little as $7.14 per hour, while home care workers in other parts of the province earn as much as $12.70. These employees do not deserve anything less.

MacLeod says the employees are very frustrated with the low compensation and lack of benefits, especially when compared to what is earned by personal care workers in nursing homes, who perform similar work.

These workers may be asked to change colostomy bags or perform a range of light nursing duties, she says. They are often on the road late at night, alone, with no cell phone, and, because of patient confidentiality, no one in their family knows where they are. They deserve to be properly compensated for the valuable service they are providing to this community.

MacLeod says recent negotiations with the employer have been extremely disappointing for the employees, and there are no new talks scheduled.

Queens home support workers look after about 200 clients in the county area.

CUPE represents approximately 500 home care workers in Cape Breton, Amherst, Queens and Lunenburg counties.

For more information please contact Kathy MacLeod at (902) 578-4612 (cell).