More than 9,000 health care workers to be axed by 2004 — union tally

News release

Negative impact of job losses reaches beyond health care into the heart of B.C. communities

B.C.’s health care system will be reeling from the loss of more than 9,000 skilled and experienced health care workers by mid-2004, says the Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE).

Figures compiled by the union and released today indicate that by the end of July, 3,000 health care workers will have been axed over the past 18 months as a result of health services cuts, facility closures and privatization schemes. Another 900 are set to go between August 1 and Sept. 30.

And 5,900 jobs are targeted to disappear from Oct. 1 into 2004, based on current health authority plans.

Click here here for a detailed breakdown of the job cuts.

“These numbers are staggering,” says HEU spokesperson Zorica Bosancic. “Every health authority is moving to implement the Campbell Liberals’ health restructuring agenda in one form or another, and every part of the province is taking a hit from cuts, closures and privatization.

“Significant, negative impact goes beyond health care, beyond the families of those who’ve lost jobs, and into the heart of communities across the province,” says Bosancic.

“Laid off workers — the vast majority women — are struggling to replace the stable, decent-paying jobs that have supported their families and their futures, built communities and fed local economies,” she says.

Bosancic notes that the union is prepared to talk about alternatives that could stem the damage. “It’s critical that alternatives be found so that we can preserve quality health care for all British Columbians, save jobs for thousands of long-serving, skilled health workers, and continue building strong communities, now and for the future,” Bosancic says.

Backgrounder

Click here here for a detailed breakdown of the job cuts.

These are the number of job cuts for health care workers in the health services and support bargaining association. They cover a variety of occupational groups and positions that range from Licensed Practical Nurses and care aides to technical, trades, clerical and support workers.

There are about 45,000 workers covered by the multi-union bargaining association. HEU represents approximately 40,000 of the total.

The cuts affect members in all of the unions in the association. These totals do not include hundreds of RN and paramedical professional positions that have also been cut.

The two categories of job losses should be interpreted as follows:

  • "facility or bed closure/patient care cut” means the loss of a direct patient care/technical/support position because of the closure of a hospital or long-term care facility, the closure of beds or wards within a facility, or the elimination of a direct patient care service.

  • “support service” means the elimination of support services positions through privatization, service reduction or service consolidation.

    Contact: Margi Blamey, 604-456-7094 (direct), 604-785-5324 (cell)