More than 400 home-care workers go on strike as legislature reconvenes

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HALIFAX — More than 400 home-care workers in Halifax have walked off the job to back their demands for higher wages.

However, the provincial government has said it will move swiftly today to limit the impact by passing essential service legislation that will force most of the strikers back to work in the days ahead.

The striking workers, members of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, say they want to receive the same pay that colleagues receive in hospitals.

Premier Stephen McNeil says the government offered a three-year contract with a 7.5 per cent raise, but that offer has been pulled from the negotiating table now that the strike has started.

The home-care workers supply services provided by Northwood Homecare, which means about 1,800 frail and elderly people living at home will no longer receive their help.

Union president Joan Jessome says the legislation will also have an impact on the Victorian Order of Nurses and home-care workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

Under the proposed law, the province and the union will be required to determine who is considered an essential worker.

If an agreement can’t be reached, the matter will be submitted to the Nova Scotia Labour Board.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Government, General Employees Union, Canadian Union of Public Employees Nova Scotia Labour Board

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