08/09/2012 06:11 EDT | Updated 10/09/2012 05:12 EDT

Hundreds of Nova Scotia home-care workers preparing to walk off the job

HALIFAX - Some 400 home-support workers in Nova Scotia could walk off the job as early as Monday after rejecting a contract offer from their employer.

The workers at Northwood Homecare are members of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union.

Northwood Homecare serves the Halifax area, West Hants, Hantsport and Windsor.

Of the 289 ballots cast Wednesday, 254 voted to reject the deal, which the union says includes two years of one per cent wage inceases.

Union president Joan Jessome says the lingering issue in the dispute is the two hours of unpaid availability that's required for workers per shift.

Jessome says the employer's offer failed to address that issue and the membership is determined to see it resolved.

The union says the workers will be ready to strike as of 7 a.m. on Monday unless progress is made in negotiations over the weekend.

The workers have been without a contract since March 31, 2010, and negotiations have been ongoing since last November.