More workers told to brace for the axe
EDMONTON – As front-line health care workers continue to fight the fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Alberta Health Services (AHS) has launched a new round of job cuts in its war against workers, says the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE).
“Alberta Health Services advised us today that it is proceeding with the contracting-out of retail food services in a number of health-care settings,” said AUPE vice-president Darren Graham, who chairs the union’s anti-privatization committee.
“This news comes only days after lay-off notices started going to laundry workers. This is clearly part of a large-scale attack on several fronts against Alberta’s public health-care system that the government says will affect 11,000 jobs,” he says.
“We are witnessing the greatest threat to our health-care system in decades - and it’s being carried out during a pandemic.”
The move on retail food services will affect hundreds of members. The job losses will occur at the Peter Lougheed Centre, Rockyview General Hospital, Foothills Medical Centre, Alberta Children’s Hospital, and the Richmond Road Diagnostic and Treatment Centre in Calgary, and at the University of Alberta Hospital and Royal Alexandra Hospital/Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in Edmonton.
“While the current plan relates to hospital retail outlets, AHS has made it clear that this is a stepping stone towards privatization of in-patient food services, as well,” says Graham.
“AHS says it values their front-line workers at the same time it is working hard to show them the door. It’s heart-breaking for folks on the front line – the ones who have been putting themselves at risk for Albertans throughout this pandemic – to be treated like this.”
According to the AHS Implementation Plan, the health authority plans to privatize in-patient food services in April 2023 across the network.
Graham says there is no evidence that the government’s plan will save any money, noting much use of the words “could” and “up to” throughout this entire process.
“This has nothing to do with saving money and everything to do with this government’s ideological opposition to workers having jobs with fair pay and benefits,” said Graham.
“Jason Kenney’s goal is to drive down wages, which will leave workers with less money to spend in their communities. This plan helps nobody except whichever corporate pal of the UCP gets to profit off patients.”
He adds, “The UCP was elected on a platform to create good jobs. Proceeding down this privatization road is the exact opposite. It is heartless considering the sacrifices these workers have made for the rest of us throughout this pandemic.”
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Vice-president Darren Graham is available for comment.
For more information, please contact:
Mimi Williams, Communications Officer