10/14/11

Failed P3: workers forced to take repeated wage cuts

The failure of a public private partnership (P3) long term care home in BC is driving down its workers wages once again. Our sister union, the Hospital Employees' Union (HEU) states:
At Parksville’s Stanford Place, more than 200 health care workers were told by an arbitrator that they must accept significant wage rollbacks and benefit cuts in order to keep the facility’s private operator financially viable.  The rollbacks take more than $1.25 million out of wages and benefits in each of the next two years and will leave some of the workers among the lowest-paid health care workers on the Island with wage cuts as deep as $3 an hour.
The HEU opposed the rollbacks arguing workers should not have to shoulder the costs for the operator’s failed business plan or the Vancouver Island Health Authority’s (VIHA's) failure to recognize that the public-private partnership (P3) was not viable.

Stanford Place was approved for construction by VIHA in 2006 as a P3 and opened in 2008. The Ahmon Group claimed in the arbitration that it underestimated costs in its 2006 bid for the project.

It’s not the first time workers at Stanford Place have been forced to take wage cuts. In January 2010, Ahmon Group imposed a five per cent reduction in wages as well as a 25 per cent reduction in vacation leave accrual and a 33 per cent reduction in sick leave. The workers were organized by HEU in May 2010.

HEU’s secretary-business manager Bonnie Pearson says “Over and over, health care workers have been told they must bear the burden of this government’s failed privatization policies in health care....Sadly, long-term care residents and their families will also suffer as our members seek out better paying jobs on which they can support their own families. It’s going to lead to turnover and instability at these facilities.”

The P3 boss at Stanford Place says the facility has been running at a "huge loss" since the time it opened.


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