#P5 Paramedical Professional Bargaining Association recommends strike vote

Bargaining bulletin

The bargaining committee is recommending a strike vote after talks between the Paramedical Professional Bargaining Association and the Hospital Employers’ Association of B.C. adjourned yesterday. The suspension of talks came after the unions tabled a wage proposal March 28 calling for a 30 per cent increase over two years for the province’s 14,000 health sciences professionals.

“We are facing serious shortages in the health sciences professions. Without a commitment to keeping highly skilled professionals here in B.C., the health care system will go deeper into crisis,” says association chief negotiator Rick Lampshire.

B.C. health science professionals are losing ground to their counterparts across the country, who this year will be making up to 15 per cent more on an annual basis.

Professional organizations representing health sciences professionals are reporting serious conditions in a number of disciplines. For example: in the area of respiratory therapy, a national study shows that by 2004, more than 50 per cent of graduates from respiratory therapy programs will be required just to replace retiring therapists; a July 2000 study found that for every physiotherapist looking for work, there are nine positions available; and the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists reported that in 2000, 60 per cent of hospitals reported vacancies in their pharmacy departments.

HEU and other health care unions are working to complete essential service level agreements in facilities throughout the province in the event of job action by any of the health care unions involved in contract talks.