Community Social Services Comprehensive Report
Provincial Executive recommends that members reject tentative agreement
A TENTATIVE AGREEMENT COVERING HEU’s 1,200 community social services members does not provide the contract improvements required for stability in a sector rocked by low wages, mismanagement and lack of funding.
Reached March 31 – hours before a government-imposed deadline to qualify for signing bonuses – the terms of settlement provide some of the lowest wage increases for a group of workers already the lowest paid in the public sector.
The agreement provides compounded wage increases of 8.56 per cent and a signing bonus of up to $4,200.
While the four-year contract provides some improvements on bumping and promotion language – and provides stat pay to casual workers – most priorities identified by HEU members going into bargaining were not achieved.
The four-step increment on the wage grid remains in place as does the 20 per cent reduction on sick pay. Improvements to LTD, special leave and prescription drug coverage were not achieved.
HEU secretary-business manager Judy Darcy says that the provincial government has clearly failed to grasp the scale of the crisis that pervades the entire community social services sector.
“Our members are poorly paid and care for some our province’s most vulnerable clients,” says Darcy. “They were looking to bargaining as an opportunity to improve their working and caring conditions.
“Instead, they were faced with an employer who was in total denial about the extent of the crisis, and by a government that continues to neglect this sector.”
HEU’s community social services bargaining team, the Provincial Bargaining Committee and the Provincial Executive are recommending that members vote no in ratification votes that will be held during the last half of April.