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HEU has got hold of a hospital employers association memo which explains how to use the work week-extending provisions of Bill 37 to squeeze more cash out of hospitals. Bill 37 ended a three day, legal strike and cut hospital workers wages by 11 per cent and increased the work week to 37.5 from 36 hours - all in the name of improving the quality of health care in British Columbia.

But instead, the Hospital Employers Association of BC is telling its members it can use the lengthened work week to convert full time to part time jobs, all the while “[keeping] the total number of service hours the same.

Its nothing more than a cash grab, says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. And government claims that Bill 37 would enhance patient care once again ring hollow.

HEU is calling on the health services minister to make sure that patients and care home residents benefit from the longer work week.

This is an opportunity to provide seniors with more hands on care during peak bathing and meal times and to increase access to services in our hospitals, adds Allnutt. The alternative suggested by HEABC means more health care chaos as schedules are rearranged and jobs reposted but with no more care for patients or seniors.

Allnutt says health unions will urge HEABC to implement the longer working week by extending the hours of work for existing full-time and part-time positions by four per cent an approach that will result in more hours of service to the public and less disruption to the workforce.