$25 million severance package secured for health care workers

News release

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More than 1,300 health care workers who recently lost their jobs because of government privatization schemes will soon receive some financial compensation, says the Hospital Employees’ Union.

The payments come from a $25 million enhanced severance package negotiated by health care unions as part of an agreement that ended job action in health care facilities last May. That agreement also capped the number of future privatization-related layoffs in health care.

The financial aid package had been delayed while an arbitrator decided who would be included in the cap — an issue that effects the distribution of payments. That matter was resolved last month and health employers received instructions last week to begin issuing payments.

“This severance package is long overdue and badly needed by our members,” says HEU acting secretary-business manager Zorica Bosancic.

“This government’s privatization schemes have cost our members their jobs, their homes and put their families under enormous pressure. It’s also caused chaos in health care.”

More than 8,000 front-line health care workers — 90 per cent of them women — have lost their jobs as a result of the privatization of cleaning, food services, laundry and security services.

More than 1,300 workers either laid off as a result of privatization since April 1, or who were working out their notice period at the time of the job action on May 1, are eligible for payments of between $3,500 and $17,000 depending upon their length of service.

Several hundred more health care workers will be eligible for enhanced severance payments in the future.