UCP announce 11,000 health care layoffs

Tuesday morning the UCP government announced massive cuts to AHS.

Side-stepping the swelling public support for doctors and nurses, the UCP are going after workers in less high-profile roles: support staff like housekeepers, laboratory workers, and laundry workers.

In total the cuts amount to 11,000 layoffs--that’s 11,000 good, stable health care jobs eliminated in the middle of a pandemic. 

The government plans to outsource this work to the private sector. They claim privatization will create $600 million in savings for the province. I have my doubts that these savings will materialize. Historically, privatization of services in Alberta has tended to make things more expensive, not less. CEOs and shareholders dipping their hands into the pot is going to mean less funding for services and less pay for workers, as always.

What’s worse is that these 11,000 layoffs are just the beginning. CBC acquired a copy of AHS’s draft plan and it proposes nearly an 8% cut across the board to public health care funding in Alberta.

Here’s just a few of the proposals from the AHS draft plan:

  • Eliminating up to 1800 full-time nursing and clinical support roles
  • Raising fees for seniors’ continuing care and putting a fee on home care
  • Reducing pay for nurses, and
  • Bringing in legislation to break collective agreements with health care workers

And this is what the UCP government plans to do in a pandemic in the face of overwhelming public support for health-care workers. If this is what they think they can get away with now, imagine what they’ll try next.

The privatizing and layoffs announced today are expected to reach their peak in 2022-2023, ahead of the next election. We can’t stop them by voting. If Alberta’s health care workers strike to protect their jobs and their patients, are you ready to join them on the picket line?


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