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HEU MEMBERS will continue their efforts to protect quality services and save more than 1200 Island health care jobs when they sit down with Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) representatives next week to further discuss alternatives to contracting out.

Earlier this week, HEU tabled a concessions package that could save the system as much as $21 million over the next three years. VIHA responded to the union’s proposal with an offer to continue talks next week.

“Although we remain cautious at this time, the fact that we’re talking again next week can be viewed as a constructive step,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “Our members have put forward a proposal that makes significant sacrifices to protect services and jobs. It deserves VIHA’s strongest consideration.”

The concessions proposal amounts to more than $3 per hour and covers health care workers in food services, laundry, dietary, maintenance, groundskeeping and transportation at all VIHA health care facilities.