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Thirty employees of a Toronto women’s shelter went on strike June 14 to head off a move by the employer to have only one person on duty for the overnight shift.

“We’re very concerned about safety at the shelter, especially following the killing of a resident at a Montreal-area shelter last week,” said Simin Navabi, spokesperson for CUPE 3878 which represents workers at the Yorktown Shelter for Abused Women. “Single shifts overnight are not just a workload issue. Safety is just as important for clients and workers.”

The shelter serves many members of visible minority and immigrant communities.

Workers are also concerned the employer is trying to prevent a group of nine women working in the Women and Communities against Violence program from receiving any benefits.

“We did not want to go on strike,” added Navabi, “but we had no choice. The women and children we shelter deserve a safe haven.”