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Privatization is eating away at pay equity that workers have achieved over the past 30 years. A report released by the BC office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives shows that privatized housekeeping jobs are paid between $9.25 to $11 an hour, a level equivalent to the HEU-negotiated wage for housekeeping in 1968. While male-dominated janitors are paid $21.92 an hour, female-dominated hospital cleaners earn less than half that amount.

These changes are rapidly undercutting the pay equity gains by women in hospital support work in BC. From 1968-2001, the wage gap between men and women in comparable work was narrowed to between 11 per cent and full parity. But the Campbell governments Bill 29 gutted employment security, allowing jobs held mainly by women many of them immigrants or people of colour to be contracted out.

The report also warns of the threat posed by similar legislation in Quebec and Ontario that overrides existing collective agreement provisions.