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Kamloops councillors back hospital laundry workers

April 15, 2015 - 10:49 AM

KAMLOOPS - The health of the hospital is so much more than just doctors and nurses and potential job cuts to laundry services could deeply hurt the hospital.

This is the message Donisa Bernardo, the Hospital Employees' Union's financial scretary, brought to Kamloops city council Tuesday, April 14.

The organization is concerned about the amount of jobs potentially lost if the provincial government decides to privatize B.C.'s hospital laundry services. The provincial government is currently accepting proposals from cleaning services providers that could result in 11 laundry service sites across the province being shut down. 

This move could result in 20 employees laid-off in the city's Royal Inland Hospital alone.

City council, after much debate, decided to send the Interior Health Authority a letter detailing their frustration and solidarity with the laundry workers.

Coun. Arjun Singh, who was echoed by his fellow councillors, was reluctant to take a strong position without hearing from the authority and understanding their rationale for such a move. He suggested council ask them to come speak at an upcoming meeting. Counc. Tina Lange advocated then for comprise, suggesting a letter be sent simulataneously asking the authority to present to council.

Ultimately it was decided the city would send one letter supporting the hospital laundry staff's position and an additional letter asking the Interior Health Authority to speak before council to outline its justification for the change in services and potential lay-offs.

According to the Hosptial Employee's Union, the health authority is unwilling to invest $10 million over ten years to upgrade and replace existing machines. The intention is to send laundry services to the lower mainland or Alberta. Not only will 20 people, 19 of them women some with 18 years of service, lose their jobs but they worry also of the impact on front line services. It is the union's contention that laundry is an essential hosptial service and outsourcing this service will impact patient care.   

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dana Reynolds at or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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