Health minister’s statement contradicts government legislation

News release

Campbell Liberals outlawed union-management committees

The Campbell Liberals recent health policies directly contradict claims made yesterday by health services minister Colin Hansen, says the Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE).

Responding to a secret government document released to the media Monday, Hansen said decisions about privatization would be left to health authorities and that union shop stewards should meet with administrators to find ways to avoid contracting out.

“But surely Mr. Hansen knows his government outlawed labour-management discussions about alternatives to privatization in January,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “It’s against the law to have these discussions in the workplace or at the bargaining table according to Bill 29.”

Allnutt says that legislation tearing up union contracts explicitly removes provisions that provided a mechanism for local union activists and health managers to ensure that “waste, inefficiencies, and appropriate utilization are reduced or eliminated; and employee workloads are not excessive or unsafe.”

“Under this contract provision, many agreements were made that improved service delivery through centralization or transfers,” says Allnutt. “But this government has systematically blocked this and every other route by which front-line workers can play a part in health care decision-making.”

Allnutt also questioned Hansen’s insistence that final decisions on contracting out, hospital closures and service cuts would be left up to the new health authorities.

“These decisions are being left to six men who’ve been appointed as board chairs and sole voting members for the six health authorities, “ says Allnutt. “They’re accountable to no one except the Campbell cabinet.”

“These six health czars will be making the call on hospital closures, privatization and service cuts.”