Ignores restrictions imposed by Canada's top court when sections of Bill 29 were struck down as unconstitutional.
Vancouver (23 Nov. 2009) - The Fraser Health Authority (FHA) is violating a Supreme Court of Canada ruling by the roughshod manner in which it is imposing up to $160 million in budget cuts ordered by the Liberal government of Premier Gordon Campbell, says the Health Sciences Association of British Columbia (HSABC/NUPGE).
The union says FHA is barging ahead illegally with a plan to lay off social workers, registered psychiatric nurses, youth care counsellors and chaplains in a variety of programs including acute care, addiction services and in-patient adolescent psychiatry without any regard for restrictions imposed by Canada's top court.
"Under the Bill 29 settlement negotiated after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the provincial government failed to properly consult with health care unions before tearing up collective agreements, HSABC negotiated a process to deal with health authorities in the event of significant changes to service delivery," the union says.
"That included six months notice and a consultation period to mitigate job loss, improve options for displaced employees, and avoid significant interruption in the delivery of services."
HSABC says the process ordered as a result of Bill 29 "is in addition to the notice period required" under its collective agreement with the authority.
"Not only has Fraser Health refused to acknowledge the requirement for consultation, they have also attempted to negotiate staffing cuts on a site-by-site and program basis. The employer appears to have given no consideration to an authority-wide human resources plan in order to avoid disruption to health workers and ultimately the impact these changes will have on patient care."
Since Nov. 9, HSABC has presented a variety of options to the authority with the intent of minimizing the effect of displacements on HSABC members and to preserve best practice for patients utilizing these services. To date, the authority has not agreed to any of those options, the union says.
The union has called two special meetings to deal with the issue.
The first meeting for FHA social workers will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 24, at the Compass Point Inn (9850 King George Highway, Surrey). The second meeting for FHA registered psychiatric nurses and youth care counsellors (Adolescent Psychiatry Unit, Abbotsford Regional Hospital) will be held at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25, in the Adolescent Psychiatric Unit of the Abbotsford Regional Hospital.
A third meeting for registered psychiatric nurses, social workers and chaplain at the Withdrawal Management Unit of the Chilliwack General Hospital is planned. Details will be announced later.
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
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