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With an overwhelming 82 per cent of Manitoba health care workers backing strike action, management has finally agreed to the union’s request for mediation.

Just hours after representatives of CUPE’s 8,500 health support workers announced the results of Wednesday’s strike vote, the employer finally responded to CUPE’s request for a mutually agreed-upon mediator.

“This is a real victory for us,” said Maryann Wasylnuk, chair of CUPE’s Provincial Health Care Council. “I guess it takes a province-wide strike vote for management to sit up and take notice.”

“Our goal has always been a fair settlement. Our proposals are all about bringing some order to a system in chaos. There are some very important issues on the table.”

Outstanding issues include protection against contracting out, seniority provisions, more full-time work, wage parity across the province and a decent pay increase.

The council has agreed to hold off any workplace action for two weeks from today. At the same time, members are carrying the momentum from their successful strike vote into the community, with plans for public leafleting door-to-door, in malls and other public places.