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63 % say wages should reflect role in ensuring patient safety British Columbians aren’t buying the argument that hospital laundry and cleaning staff should be paid the same as those doing similar sounding jobs in hotels, according to a poll released today by the Hospital Employees’ Union.

By a margin of more than two to one, those polled supported the view that these support workers should be compensated for their specialized work in the health care system.

The Fraser Institute, editorial writers and B.C. Liberals have devalued the contributions made to patient health and safety by health care workers who provide ancillary services,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt.

But arguments for lower wages for health workers and privatization of health support services are not resonating with the public,” says Allnutt. “British Columbians understand the important role these workers play in the public health care system.”

Attacking front-line health care workers’ wages, privatizing health services and cutting programs will cause chaos in our health care system at a time when stability is required,” adds Allnutt. “HEU members remain committed to working with Victoria to modernize and strengthen public health care.”

HEU also released a report today that examines in detail the argument that equates hospital support services with hotel services. It’s available at www.heu.org.

The question was conducted as part of a broader McIntyre & Mustel omnibus telephone survey of 504 adult British Columbians Oct. 11-17. The results are considered accurate to within 4.4 per cent, 95 per cent of the time. The question:

Some people say hospital workers providing services such as laundry and cleaning should be paid similarly to workers providing those services in hotels. Others say that hospitals are different than hotels and therefore compensation for hospital cleaners and laundry workers should take into account their responsibilities to ensure patient safety and a sterile, germ-free work place. Which view is closer to your own?

Total interviews: 504

  • Hospital workers compensated same as hotel workers 29.4 % 148
  • Hospital workers should be compensated for specialized work 62.7% 316
  • Don’t know/refused 7.8 % 39

For more information, visit heu.org