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The Hospital Employees’ Union has rejected a move by the Interior Health Authority to seek massive contract concessions from its workers, despite a $50 million surplus and being on target to meet government-established cost savings.

At a meeting held Tuesday in Kelowna, IHA officials refused to move from an inflexible, Victoria-directed concessions package that would not allow for a “made in the interior” solution.

HEU says it’s a clear case of political interference from a government that’s determined to make workers pay for its failed fiscal policies.

“It’s nothing short of a cash grab from heartland health workers and a further blow to heartland communities,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt.

“First, the IHA racks up a $50 million surplus while closing hospitals and care facilities,” explains Allnutt. “And now they’re pushing a government-sponsored shakedown of health care workers that will further erode local economies throughout the Interior.”

Allnutt says the IHA should stick to its original three-year plan to achieve savings in support services through the consolidation and restructuring of laundry, food services and housekeeping.

“The IHA has been on track to meet cost savings in these areas without resorting to privatization or wage rollbacks,” says Allnutt. “But it appears that Victoria is interfering in the authority’s efforts to find local solutions that will work for the Interior.”

“Our members will take a look at any serious proposal from the IHA that will preserve local health services and good jobs,” says Allnutt. “As long as it is motivated by need, not greed.”


Mike Old, communications director, 604-456-7039; 604-828-6771(cell)