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British multinational Compass has walked away from its cleaning and food services contract at a Burnaby BC long-term care home after an arbitrator ordered a wage increase for its 25 employees.

The workers - HEU members in bargaining for a first contract for over a year - have received layoff notices.

And while management at the Normanna long-term care home has said they want to keep “the team” together, the workers will have to apply for their jobs at a job fair hosted by another private contractor.

Compass will still be liable to pay their former employees any retroactive wage increases the settlement requires. And the settlement will set the standard for negotiations between Compass and about 1000 HEU members at the Provincial Health Services Authority and the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA).

HEU Secretary Business Manager Judy Darcy condemned the company - which has made $530 million in operating profit this year - for putting profits ahead of the stability and quality of care in BC health care facilities.

Our union has successfully negotiated with public health employers, the B.C. government and Compass’ competitors to reach long-term collective agreements that bring stability to the workplace and improve the quality of care we deliver to the public,” Darcy said.

Compass had told the Normanna workers that the settlement, which brings their wages into line with workers at Compass competitors Aramark and Sodexho, put the company in a “non-viable financial position.”