1,200 healthcare workers to be laid off in Metro Vancouver

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Major staffing changes are coming to hospitals and a long-term care facility in Metro Vancouver, according to the Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU) of British Columbia.

The union representing healthcare workers in the province announced yesterday that the Ahmon Group has issued layoff notices to 240 care aides, nurses, cleaners and dietary workers at Surrey’s Laurel Place. All of their positions will be contracted out beginning June 1.

In addition, American foodservice supplier Aramark has also lost its contract to clean Vancouver Coastal Health hospitals and extended care facilities. The company first acquired the contract in 2003, and it will now layoff approximately 935 staff during the months of August and September of this year.

In a statement, the HEU says it is unsure whether the workers will be hired by the new contractors.

The union negotiated three consecutive collective agreements with Aramark and one with the Ahmon Group. It blames the B.C. Liberal government for permitting “weak successorship” provisions in the labour code for both public employers and publicly-subsidized private employers.

“Contracting out, contract flipping and sales of business will become more and more frequent as B.C.’s privatization of seniors’ care and hospital support services enters its second decade,” says Bonnie Pearson, the HEU secretary-business manager.

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