Victoria hoping to avoid legal aid strike

Bargaining continues with legal aid administrative staff: attorney general

Legal aid staff lawyers threatening a walkout Nov. 1 earn less than prosecutors but more than lawyers assisting the disadvantaged, B.C.’s attorney general said Oct. 29.

“We’re in bargaining, and we look forward to a resolution,” David Eby said.

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Twenty six Legal Services Society (LSS) lawyers represented by the Professional Employees Association issued 72-hour strike notice Monday.

The announcement came two weeks after Eby announced the province had struck a deal with lawyers doing legal aid work for those unable to afford legal representation.

Those 26 lawyers are the first point of contact for those seeking help navigating the legal system.

Eby stressed there are two sets of lawyers in the legal aid equation – those who do the contract or tariff work assisting people in the courts or otherwise and the LSS staff lawyers.

The latter, he said, administer the system, offer help in courthouses and advise tariff lawyers when one of them suggests an appeal might be needed in a case.

“They’re paid differently,” he said. “They’re part of a bargaining unit.”

The lawyers who settled a few weeks ago “aren’t part of a bargaining unit,” he said.

jhainsworth@glaciermedia.ca

@jhainswo

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