SASKATOON – The Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan (HSAS) said it’s at an impasse in bargaining a new contract with the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations (SAHO).
Formal notice of the impasse has been sent by HSAS to the government of Saskatchewan.
According to HSAS President Karen Wasylenko, “SAHO refused to recently attend two different sets of bargaining dates, which they proposed, then cancelled.”
Wasylenko said SAHO cancelled bargaining sessions this week and refused to propose new bargaining dates.
“Clearly SAHO is refusing to bargain, and as required under Saskatchewan’s new labour legislation, we are providing formal notice of an impasse in these negotiations.”
SAHO has not responded to the allegations.
Under the new labour laws, a labour relations officer or a special mediator is to be appointed by the minister of labour relations to mediate or conciliate the dispute. The minister also has the option of establishing a conciliation board.
“We expect the minister will respond quickly to appoint the independent assistance called for in the new labour legislation,” said Wasylenko.
In May, members of HSAS voted 85.5 per cent in favour of job action. They have been without a contract since March 31, 2013.
The new labour legislation requires four steps to be taken before any job action can occur:
– the appointment of a mediator;
– a settlement is not reached by a date specified by the mediator;
– the minister is informed by the mediator the dispute has not been settled;
– a 14-day cooling off period after the minister has been informed.
In 2011, HSAS went on a series of rotating strikes that lasted seven weeks to back contract demands.