Health care workers take message public: “Privatization isn’t cost effective”
Leafletting session, Thursday, March 27, 3:00 p.m.; Royal Jubilee Hospital
As the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) moves forward with its aggressive privatization agenda, health care workers are taking their message — that contracting out doesn’t save money — to the streets.
A public leafleting session at Royal Jubilee Hospital at 3:00 p.m. Thursday, will draw attention to VIHA’s refusal to take the advice of one of its own financial consultants who recommended against privatizing grounds maintenance because the potential savings wouldn’t be sufficient.
LeFrank Landscape Architecture Ltd., hired last spring to determine whether privatizing grounds maintenance at nine hospitals in the South Island would save money, concluded: “A savings of less than $3,500, on a total budget of almost $600,000?is not considered to be a worthwhile sum, especially considering the other benefits that retention of public sector personnel can provide.”
Instead, the consultant had recommended minor adjustments to staffing levels as a more effective option.
“There’s a lot of evidence out there from other jurisdictions showing privatization won’t yield any significant cost savings,” says Ervin Braithwaite, HEU chief Shop Steward at Royal Jubilee Hospital. “But here’s their own study, telling them they don’t have a business case to support privatizing that group of workers, and they ignore it. ”
“And over the long run, VIHA won’t save money privatizing food services or other functions in our public health care system,” he said.
Grounds maintenance functions at Royal Jubilee Hospital, Queen Alexandra, Victoria General, and Saanich Peninsula were contracted out last fall.
HEU continues to call on the government and health authority to stop its privatization agenda and sit down with the union to seek alternatives to contracting out.
-30- For more information contact: Bob Wilson, HEU Servicing Representative at (250) 920-9091 or Patty Gibson, HEU Communications Officer at (604) 456-7007