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ST. JOHNS Public sector workers who are heading into extended bargaining this weekend are very upset there was no new money for them in the provincial budget says the president of CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador, Wayne Lucas.

We are very disappointed that the premier has chosen to set the stage for strike action rather than attempting to negotiate fair collective agreements, says Lucas. It is the sincere hope of CUPEs National Union that this conciliation process be successful for our members in health care, housing and provincial libraries. But should these discussions fail to bring about renewed collective agreements and strike action becomes unavoidable we are asking for the understanding and support of the general public.

Lucas says public sector workers are suffering after years of being the target of government cutbacks and it is time for the government to right this injustice.

He also warns that CUPE members have had enough of the governments draconian measures, and are prepared to stand up and fight for their rights.

Should strike action become necessary our members have said they will not bow to government pressure, such as back-to-work legislation, says Lucas. And should it come to the point where we are forced to defy such unjust legislation, our brothers and sisters across the country will be standing shoulder to shoulder along with us, whatever we decide.

CUPE represents approximately 2700 government employees in housing, provincial libraries and health care.

For more information please contact Wayne Lucas at (709) 753-0732, 726-8208 (home), 727-2509 (cell); or CUPEs Atlantic Regional Director, Roger Neeley at (902) 455-4180.