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Saskatchewan health care workers have given their CUPE bargaining team a strong mandate to take strike action, if necessary, to achieve a new collective agreement.

In votes conducted throughout the province over 80% of those who cast ballots opted to strike if bargaining breaks down.

Gordon Campbell, vice-president of the CUPE Health Care Council pointed out that bargaining on most issues with Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations (SAHO) has been suspended until September.

“The major issues CUPE health care workers want addressed are job security, seniority, wage parity, benefits and hours of work,” said Campbell. “SAHO appears more interested in trying for takeaways and getting us to accept the lowest common denominator. The strong strike mandate we’ve received clearly shows that our members are not prepared to tolerate that attitude. They’re determined to do whatever it takes to get a decent contract.”

CUPE represents over 12,000 health care support staff in Saskatchewan.