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Disrespectful of workers and an unnecessary waste of money, says union

The Provincial Health Services Authority will force nearly 200 hospital staff out of work a full month before their scheduled layoff dates in a move their union calls spiteful and a waste of scarce health care dollars.

The health authority has told cleaning and dietary workers at Children’s and Women’s Hospital, Sunnyhill Health Centre for Children and the B.C. Cancer Agency - whose jobs are being contracted out - that their last day of work will be either September 18 or 19.

It’s a move that will add more than $250,000 to the health authority’s severance bill - money the Hospital Employees’ Union says could be used to fund labour adjustment programs.

HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt calls the action especially mean-spirited given the health authority’s refusal to fund measures that would have allowed employees close to retirement to access their full pensions.

“Less than a year ago, health authority CEO Lynda Cranston fired the head of Children’s and Women’s Hospital and provided her with a $300,000 golden handshake for five years of service,” says Allnutt. “Now this same CEO will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for workers to stay at home when a fraction of that amount could have helped employees with decades of service retire with modest pensions.”

Allnutt is calling on CEO Lynda Cranston to reconsider her plan to pay workers to stay at home and put those resources into early retirement and job training programs for those affected by privatization.

The PHSA is contracting out housekeeping and dietary services to two separate, fully-owned subsidiaries of the British multinational, Compass Group.


Mike Old, acting communications director
604-828-6771 (cell)