Today is the last day laundry services will be provided through Kelowna General Hospital.
The Hospital Employees Union says 29 laundry workers at KGH are working their final shifts today after Interior Health contracted the service out to Ecotex Linen Services.
The 20-year contract is said to be worth about $266 million for laundry services throughout facilities within the IH region.
Interior Health stated it decided to privatize the service due to rising capital costs to upgrade and replace equipment over the next two decades.
The union says laundry workers were earning between $18.68 and $21.26 an hour at the time they were laid off. It further states Ecotex is advertising a starting wage of $11.50 for laundry positions.
“The privatization policies of the BC Liberals continue to wreak havoc on families, communities and public services,” HEU secretary-business manager Jennifer Whiteside said in a press release. “And the sooner we can turn the page on these failed policies, the better.”
In addition to the Kelowna layoffs, 17 laundry workers in Vernon were laid off on June 1. Another 13 positions at Penticton Regional Hospital, 18 at Royal Inland in Kamloops, and 22 in Nelson, Trail and Cranbrook are on the chopping block in the coming weeks.
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