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The CUPE Saskatchewan Health Care Council is preparing to take a strike vote after another week of contract talks with SAHO failed to achieve any meaningful progress towards a contract settlement.

We’ve been without a new agreement for more than 14 months, but SAHO still hasn’t presented a monetary offer at our table,” says Gordon Campbell, President of the CUPE Health Care Council. “In contrast, SAHO presented a significant wage offer to SUN members less than two months after their contract expired last year.”

Campbell says SAHO’s “double standard” at the bargaining table has offended many of CUPE’s 12,600 health care providers who work in five health regions. “It’s certainly one of the major reasons more than 140 delegates at our annual health council conference in Regina last week unanimously supported a motion calling for a strike vote,” he said. “Members want SAHO to treat them with the same consideration and respect as other health care workers.”

CUPE members also are dismayed over the government’s essential services legislation. Although the health regions’ essential services plans are inaccurate and incomplete, the health employers are refusing to revise their plans and the government is doing nothing about it.

The employers are clearly in violation of the essential services act and the government is letting them get away with it,” says Campbell. “It’s another double-standard where we see the government only enforcing the legislation on our side of the table.”

Campbell says the Council is organizing membership meetings to prepare to take a strike vote and increase pressure on the employer to achieve a fair contract settlement.