Community Social Services strike actions continue in Victoria on Tuesday, October 30
Stop ignoring critical resource needs in underfunded sector, workers tell government
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.
BCGEU members working at the Inter-Cultural Association for Greater Victoria (ICA) will be going off the job. Picket lines will be up at 930 Balmoral Road, Victoria from 8:30 am until 9:00 pm. 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. Picket lines will be up at CLV – 3861 Cedar Hill Cross Road – from 8am until 5pm.
Striking CSS 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 Health Sciences Association (HSA) members 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, represented by BCGEU, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, HEU, HSA and five other unions, which together make up the Community Social Services Bargaining Association.
Essential services levels are being maintained. Further job actions will target agencies in the Lower Mainland later this week.