12/06/2012 05:03 EST | Updated 02/05/2013 05:12 EST

Two-day strike may cause delays at B.C. hospitals

Health care workers have started a two-day strike across British Columbia, which could mean a delay in services for some patients.

There won’t be any picket lines, but hospital pharmacists will provide only essential services from 9 a.m. to midnight on Thursday.

On Friday, technologists who conduct x-rays, ultrasounds, CT and MRI scans will be striking, providing essential services only from midnight Thursday to midnight Friday.

Negotiations have been going on for months -- beginning in February, and despite ongoing mediations, the unions said they are striking to express their frustration with the lack of progress.

“All we're asking for is basically a cost of living increase,” said Reid Johnson, the president of the Health Sciences Association of British Columbia.

“Other tables like the bus drivers in Victoria, ICBC, support staff at post secondary institutions, have all gotten two and two with no concessions. And somehow the government doesn't think that's suitable for these health science professionals.”

Johnson said the province’s 17,000 health science professionals have been without a contract since the end of March.

The only exception to the strike will be Surrey Memorial Hospital, which is just recovering from a flood that affected services in medical imaging and resulted in the closing of the emergency department.