Stop ignoring critical resource needs in underfunded sector, workers tell government.
Vancouver (30 Oct. 2012) - Rotating job actions are again underway this week in targeted community-based social services agencies, where workers are calling on government to provide the resources needed to improve their wages and working conditions.
Members of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) working at the Inter-Cultural Association for Greater Victoria (ICA) are conducting strike action today from 8:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. The union represents 44 workers at ICA, which offers services for immigrant and refugee newcomers, including settlement and integration counselling, job search assistance and guidance and more.
Members of the Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU) working in day programs at Crossroads Human Services and Kardel Consulting Services will be off the job as well. HEU members working in supported independent living, parent support, employment services and day programs, as well as administrative services at Community Living Victoria (CLV), will be taking strike action.
Striking community social services workers and their supporters will be taking their protest to Minister Ida Chong’s constituency office during the noon hour at 3930 Shelbourne Street, and will be joined by members of the Health Sciences Association of B.C. (HSABC/NUPGE) from Victoria Women’s Transition House Society.
Since 2004, the B.C. government has slashed over $300 million in funding for programs that support people with developmental disabilities, women fleeing violence, at-risk youth, infant development, new immigrants, and many other vulnerable citizens.
Workers say there are no savings to be found that can meet government’s unrealistic cooperative gains mandate, as the sector has already been cut to the bone. Starting wages are lower today, at $15.54 an hour, than in 2002, when a starting wage was $16.83.
There are 15,000 unionized workers in the community social services sector.
Essential services levels are being maintained. Further job actions will target agencies in the Lower Mainland later this week.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE