Seniors care home fails to honour commitments to laid-off workers

VANCOUVER, Aug. 31 /CNW/ - Laid-off care staff at Cerwydden Care Centre in Duncan are still waiting to be paid out their remaining pay after working their last day on August 9.

Park Place Seniors' Living announced in February that it would contract out over 70 staff providing care services to seniors residing at Cerwydden Care Centre. Employees worked until August 9, at which point their union contract provided them with a number of options including lay-off.

In addition, employees were also given the option to apply for a position with the incoming contractor for significantly lower wages and fewer benefits. However, several employees were not re-hired.

"Park Place Seniors' Living has demonstrated that it has no regard for the women and men who have been caring for seniors at Cerwydden," said Lori Strom, staff representative with the BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) which represents the laid-off care staff.

"Laid-off workers have not received their severance entitlements despite an Employment Standards regulation requiring the employer to pay out all wages within 48 hours of the last day worked."

According to the union's calculations, Park Place Seniors' Living will be paying over $250,000 in contractual obligations to the laid-off workers. "That's how much this employer is willing to pay just to drive down wages and reduce the quality of care for seniors at Cerwydden Care Centre," said Strom.

The contracting out of care staff at Cerwydden is yet another example of the crisis in seniors' care, said Strom. "In contracting out all the care staff - many of whom have worked there for over a decade - Park Place Seniors' Living is creating instability in a workforce where consistency of care is a critical factor in their clients' health."

"Park Place Seniors' Living has been clear with us throughout this process that it is not in a position of financial hardship. We conclude, then, that contracting out is motivated by a desire to increase profit and to allow for a second level of profit for a private contractor by reducing staff wages and benefits - at the expense of quality care for seniors."

SOURCE B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union

For further information: For further information:

Erin Sikora, BCGEU Communications at 604-291-9611

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