HEU seeks strike mandate from Victoria nursing home workers, urges Compass Group to bargain

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HEU files unfair labour practices complaint against giant U.K. corporation, alleging interference in vote

The Hospital Employees’ Union is seeking a strike mandate from its members at a Victoria long-term care facility in an effort to reach a first collective agreement with a multi-billion dollar British corporation. The workers vote on Wednesday.

The union has also filed a complaint at the Labour Relations Board against Compass Group alleging that the company has attempted to interfere in and undermine the strike vote by bringing in outside agents to threaten workers with the loss of their jobs.

The 22 food, laundry and housekeeping workers at Beacon Hill Villa have been without a contract for more than 13 months.

On December 6, Compass Group rejected a union proposal that included guaranteed hours of work, health and safety language and a grievance procedure along with a modest wage increase. The two sides have not met since.

“Compass Group must stop stalling and live up to its responsibility to negotiate a first contract with its employees,” says HEU acting secretary-business manager Zorica Bosancic. “Beacon Hill Villa is more than just a cash cow in the company’s global operations.”

Compass Group employees at Beacon Hill Villa earn a starting wage of $9.25 — about half the hourly wage earned before the work was contracted out in 2003. Compass Group CEO Michael J. Bailey took home more than $6 million (CAD) in salary, benefits and performance-related bonuses in 2003 — a 27 per cent increase over the previous year.

And according to the company’s most recent annual report, Compass Group’s global revenues are nearly $26 billion a year.

— 30 — Contact: Mike Old, communications director, 604-828-6771 (cell)