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New Glasgow Dietary employees at the Aberdeen Hospital are dismayed that hospital administration is refusing to take responsibility for cleanliness at the hospital kitchen. For the second time in two years the hospitals health and safety committee has ordered a major cleanup of the kitchen, which is operated by Aramark, a private company. The employees, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), want the hospital administration to ensure that standards of cleanliness are met on a day to day basis.

We have asked two times to meet with the hospital administrator, Patrick Flynn, on this issue, and have been turned down both times, says CUPE National Rep Wayne Thomas. He says the issue belongs to Aramark.

Thomas says there is no designated cleaner in the kitchen, which feeds up to 120 patients and staff each mealtime. Only one man-hour per day is allowed for cleaning, he says, which is completely inadequate for a hospital that size.

Garbage is not being taken out, dishwashers are not being emptied between meals and common floor areas are not being washed, he explains. In addition, thorough cleaning, such as dusting ventilation hoods, has not been done for over six months.

The employees got some encouragement today however when NDP MLA Darrell Dexter raised the issue of the hospitals responsibility in the legislature.

If the company is under contract to the Northern Regional Health Board and the Aberdeen Hospital, then clearly those who are responsible for the administration of that hospital would be responsible for seeing that the standards are met, he said, directing his comment to Health Minister Jamie Muir.

The government has promised to look into the complaint.

CUPE represents 25 dietary employees at the Aberdeen Hospital.

For more information please contact Wayne Thomas at 752-2244 or 759-1057 (cell).