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Health union reminds employers to follow Sask. labour laws

A major health union in the province, the Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan, has issued a reminder to a number of employers about how Saskatchewan's Essential Services law works.

Union says health regions have warned workers of reduced hours in the event of a work stoppage

The Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan represents 3,600 professionals in health regions across the province.

A major health union in the province, the Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan [HSAS], has issued a reminder to a number of employers about how Saskatchewan's Essential Services law works.

According to the union, a number of health regions have indicated that, in the event of a work stoppage, some workers will see reduced hours.

However, HSAS points out that workers deemed to be "essential" would work normal hours through any work stoppages.

Karen Wasylenko, president of HSAS, said Tuesday that health regions need to be reminded of the details of Saskatchewan's legislation.

"If they proceed down this path they are breaking the law by saying to somebody, 'You're essential, but you know what, you're only going to come in so many hours a week.' That is against the law," Wasylenko said. "The law states that they can not do that."

Karen Wasylenko, president of HSAS, is concerned some employers are planning to reduce hours of essential workers, in the event of a work stoppage, something the union believes would violate Saskatchewan labour laws. (CBC)

HSAS represents 3,600 health care professionals across the province, including such people as paramedics, hospital pharmacists and public health inspectors.

The union said it raised the issue relating to scheduling of workers deemed essential a month ago and was told that the employers believe they can make adjustments to workers' hours and still be within the legislation.

Officials with the province's labour ministry issued a statement Tuesday saying that, in the event of job action in the health sector, the minister expects both sides to follow the Essential Services Act and any complaints relating to the law, if any arise, would be investigated.

HSAS is currently in negotiations for a new collective agreement.

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