NDP calls for a 90-day moratorium on health care privatization

Bargaining bulletin

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VICTORIA — The BC New Democratic Party today called on Premier Campbell to immediately order a moratorium on further privatization in health care so that hospital employees and health employers can get back to meaningful negotiations and end the current disruption.

NDP Leader Carole James said that NDP Opposition House Leader Joy MacPhail would table in the Legislature today a private members’ bill that would impose an immediate 90-day moratorium on health care privatization and ensure the resumption of collective bargaining.

“The Campbell government should step back from the brink, and focus on bringing much-needed calm to the situation,” said James. “The 90-day cooling off period on privatization is necessary for bargaining to continue in good faith, and for our health care system to function while bargaining resumes.

“Cancelling surgeries and disrupting patient services will result in millions of dollars in costs to BC taxpayers,” said James. “Strikes in the health care sector benefit no one, and compromise patient care. We need to get both parties back to the table, and ensure that bargaining can continue without outside pressures. The Health Care Services Continuation Act offers a viable intermediate solution to the dispute.”

HEU members took full strike action as of this morning. Wage rollbacks and contracting out are at the forefront of the dispute.

“This government is pushing its privatization agenda without consultation or public discussion. It is no surprise that we have ended up with another unnecessary crisis,” James said.

“This latest crisis is a further example of the Campbell approach to health care in BC,” said James. “The Liberals are taking health care in the wrong direction with privatization, conflict and confrontation.”

MacPhail was to place the private members’ bill on the Order Paper today. The bill could be called for debate as early as Wednesday, though the government can call the bill for debate at any time.