Health bosses flaunt minimum labour standards

News release

Health care unions file employment standards charge

Health employers are disregarding even minimum employment standards as they prepare to fire hundreds of front-line workers, says the Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE).

And the union has filed a complaint with the Employment Standards Branch to force employers to obey the law and provide proper notice to hundreds of front-line health care workers who are expected to receive layoff notices starting Monday.

HEU has been joined in its charge by the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union and the B.C. Nurses’ Union.

“It seems that in Gordon Campbell’s British Columbia, health employers believe they have carte blanche to treat our members any way they want,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt.

“Health care collective agreements have been legislated away and now health bosses won’t even abide by the minimum employment standards that apply to all British Columbians — whether they’re unionized or not.”

The union is expecting thousands of layoff notices in the next few weeks as the province moves to privatize parts of the health care system. More than 400 workers at Vancouver General and UBC hospitals are expected to get pink slips next week.

Under employment standards, employers must provide at least 16 weeks notice — in addition to the notice provisions contained in their collective agreements — when more than 300 employees are slashed from the workforce.

“The Campbell Liberals and their hand-picked regional health authority czars are flaunting the rule of law,” says Allnutt. “But we’re going to stop them.”