28 Feb Statement on Northwood Home Support Workers Strike & Essential Services – 28/02/2014
Halifax, NS – The Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network is disappointed an agreement could not be reached between members of NSGEU Local 34 and their employer, Northwood. 450 home support workers from Local 34 walked out on strike this morning, Friday, at 8am. The Health Network stands for universal public health care services that meets the needs of all Nova Scotians from cradle to grave. Public health care should cover the spectrum of continuing care, especially for home care and home support services.
“Nova Scotia is in desperate need of increased supports and services in home care” said James Hutt, Provincial Coordinator of the Health Network. “We have an aging population, high rates of chronic illness and a waiting list 2,500 long for long-term care homes. We should be doing all we can to expand services, and support home care workers in the demanding work conditions they face.”
The Health Network firmly believes that all health workers deserve adequate compensation for the work they do. Northwood home support workers have asked for wage parity with their counterparts in hospital settings. After talks broke down, the union offered to enter binding arbitration. However, the government rejected the offer and has recalled the legislature in order to pass essential services legislation, forcing home care workers to stay on the job.
The Health Network condemns the Liberal Government undermining the rights of workers. Taking away the right to strike diminishes the ability to fight for better equity, better working conditions, or patient safety. It also does nothing to avoid strikes.
“We have seen in Alberta and other provinces that back to work legislation actually does nothing to avoid strikes” said Hutt. “It also undermines bargaining power and the ability of workers to raise concerns on everything from personal safety to the quality of patient care.
For more information, contact:
Nova Scotia Citizen’s Health Care Network
About the Nova Scotia Citizen’s Health Care Network
Formed in 1996, the Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network’s goal is to stop the privatization of the public health care system, ensure high levels of care, and create a forum for people and communities to discuss issues in health care.
The Network is a coalition of local health committees, community groups, organized labour, faith groups, women’s organizations, students, and individuals dedicated to protecting and extending public health care to include services like pharmacare, dental care, long-term care, mental health care and home care.
The Network is political but non-partisan and receives no government funding.