Saskatchewan nurses end strike

The nurses' strike in Saskatchewan is over. The Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN) is asking its members to return to their jobs ending a 10-day strike.

SUN president Rosalee Longmoore says an agreement was reached with the government early Sunday morning on pay equity and patient safety issues.

Longmoore says the agreement is conditional on the government removing what she calls "the impediments of Bill 23."

That's the government bill that ordered the nurses back-to-work and imposed a contract settlement.

Under the new agreement the government has imposed a six-per-cent increase for nurses plus an additional eight-per-cent to address benefits and working conditions. Further the government has agreed to cancel the imposed contract and allow SUN to negotiate a better deal with the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations.

During the strike, many smaller hospitals in the province were closed and patients airlifted to other provinces and the United States.

As of Saturday 185 patients had been transferred out of province while 142 others had been moved to other facilities within the province.

The agreement to end the strike and resume negotiations comes just a day before a court hearing on whether fines should be imposed on SUN officers and members for defying a court injunction to return to work.