'Laid-off workers have not received their severance entitlements despite an employment standards regulation requiring the employer to pay out all wages within 48 hours.' - BCGEU.
Vancouver (2 Sept. 2010) - Laid-off care staff at Cerwydden Care Centre in Duncan are still waiting to receive their remaining pay after working their last day on Aug. 9.
Park Place Seniors Living announced in February it would contract out over 70 staff providing care services to seniors residing at Cerwydden Care Centre. Employees worked until Aug. 9, when their union contract provided them with a number of options including lay-off.
In addition, employees were also given the option to apply for a position with the incoming contractor at significantly lower wages and fewer benefits. However, several employees were not rehired.
"Park Place Seniors Living has demonstrated that it has no regard for the women and men who have been caring for seniors at Cerwydden," says Lori Strom, staff representative with the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU/NUPGE), which represents the employees.
"Laid-off workers have not received their severance entitlements despite an employment standards regulation requiring the employer to pay out all wages within 48 hours of the last day worked," she adds.
According to the union's calculations, Park Place Seniors Living will be paying over $250,000 in contractual obligations to the laid-off workers.
"That's how much this employer is willing to pay just to drive down wages and reduce the quality of care for seniors at Cerwydden Care Centre," Strom notes.
The contracting out of care staff at Cerwydden is yet another example of the crisis in seniors' care.
"In contracting out all the care staff – many of whom have worked there for over a decade – Park Place Seniors Living is creating instability in a workforce where consistency of care is a critical factor in their clients' health,” Strom says.
“Park Place Seniors Living has been clear with us throughout this process that it is not in a position of financial hardship. We conclude, then, that contracting out is motivated by a desire to increase profit and to allow for a second level of profit for a private contractor by reducing staff wages and benefits – at the expense of quality care for seniors."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE