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Health strike averted in Halifax 0

QMI Agency
(QMI Agency File Photo)

(QMI Agency File Photo)

Things are starting to return to normal for patients in Halifax after a massive health-care worker strike was averted Wednesday evening.

After delaying a strike deadline by one day in a last-ditch effort to hammer out a deal, Capital Health reached a tentative agreement with the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, which represents some 3,600 Halifax-area health-care workers in 150 fields, including licensed practical nurses, social workers, occupational therapists and anesthesia assistants.

At the heart of the dispute was wages, with the workers wanting parity with a local nurses' union and Capital Health claiming it couldn't afford it.

The health authority's final offer for a three-year term was a 2% salary increase in the first year, followed by 2% and 2.5%. The union's final demand was 2.9%, 2.9% and 3.25%.

The tentative agreement sends the issue of wages to arbitration with a floor of 6.5% and a ceiling of 9.05% over the three-year term.

"This news is the best outcome we could have hoped for our patients and their families," Chris Power, president and CEO of Capital Health, said in a press release. "We know that even the threat of a strike has had a tremendous impact on them, as well as on our employees, both in Local 42 and others."

During the bargaining process, hundreds of beds have been closed and non-emergency surgeries and tests cancelled. Some of those services resume on Thursday, and patients are beginning to re-book their appointments.

However, the bed closures will remain in effect until the union ratifies the agreement. Members will vote Thursday and Friday.


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