Community-based workers are stepping up their campaign to pressure the provincial government to live up to its promise to address the underfunding of community-based agencies.
The employees, who work in group homes, vocational training centres and youth- and child-care centres, will be hand-delivering "past due'' notices this week to Saskatchewan MLAs.
"At this time of year, government departments are involved in budget preparations,'' said Gail Tiefenbach, who works at Help Homes in Regina. "We are delivering these past due notices to ensure they remember us in this year's budget,'' she said.
The workers, members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees Union (SGEU), have been lobbying for improved government funding and pay equity with their counterparts who work for government agencies and departments.
A 1998 wage comparison with the Saskatchewan public service found workers in community-based organizations earn about $8 less an hour than government employees doing work of equal value. The workers say the government must provide at least another $40 million to their agencies to close the wage gap.
As the past due notice states: the Saskatchewan government made a partial payment of $6 million towards this account in the March 2001 budget. At the time, the government promised to produce a long-term funding plan to address salary, training and operating cost issues.
reprinted from The Leader-Post.