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HALIFAX After more than two years without a collective agreement Queens County home support workers say they are being left with no choice but to withdraw their services. The thirty-five employees, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3885 rejected an offer from their employer last evening that proposed taking away employee meal breaks.

What the employer is offering is a slap in the face to our home support members, says CUPE national rep Kathy MacLeod. These individuals earn as little as $7.14 per hour, use their own vehicles to do the employers work, and now are being asked to give up their lunch break. This is outrageous.

MacLeod adds that even with the current wage offer on the table, employees will end up earning less money than before if they give up the hour they are paid for their lunch and breaks.

Queens County Home Support employees have been in a legal strike position since last November. Their last collective agreement expired March 31, 1999.

MacLeod says the employees are asking for wages and benefits equal to what their counterparts are earning elsewhere in the province. CUPEs home support workers in Victoria County earn as much as $12.70 per hour. The top rate paid by Queens County Home Support is $10.59.

These employees are asking their employer to respect the work they do by offering decent wages, and by putting an end to these negotiations that have been dragged on for so long, she says.

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

For more information please call Kathy MacLeod at (902) 455-4180.