Seniors' care in Duncan at risk

Cerwydden Care Centre issues layoff notice to 40 staff

VANCOUVER, Feb. 10 /CNW/ - Layoffs announced by Cerwydden Care Centre in Duncan yesterday will put seniors' care at risk, says B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union. The facility gave notice to its 40 fulltime staff members of its plans to contract out care services effective August 9.

"Cerwydden is proposing a wholesale change in care staff that will put vulnerable seniors at risk," says BCGEU president Darryl Walker.

"Laying off virtually all the staff will have a dramatic effect on the quality and continuity of care for over 50 seniors."

Cerwydden Care notified the union in December that it intended to contract out core care services. Under the terms of the Bill 29 Settlement Agreement, health care employers are required to provide the union with the detailed description of the proposed contracting out so that the union can propose ways to find cost savings.

Walker says BCGEU has repeatedly requested specific information on the financial amount that Cerwydden is seeking to recover through contracting out care services to an outside provider. To date, the union has not received that information and Cerwydden is going ahead with its plan to contract out.

"Cerwydden has refused to show us the documents that tell us the extent of any fiscal challenges. We think this is all about maximizing their profits at the expense of seniors in their care," says Walker.

"We have been very clear with Cerwydden throughout this process: we're fully committed to finding ways to save money while providing continuity of care for residents. We're fully committed to exploring options that don't compromise seniors' care."

"This move comes at the same time as B.C.'s Ombudsman strongly recommends that seniors' rights in care facilities be respected, including the rights to care and security," says Walker.

"These seniors' care facilities are rightfully supported through public funding and we are calling on the Vancouver Island Health Authority and the Ministry of Health to stop using public funds to create chaos at Cerwydden."

BCGEU represents 70 members who work as residential care aides, licensed practical nurses, cooks, housekeeping and laundry staff, and activity staff - 40 fulltime employees who received layoff notice and 30 casual employees who will also be affected.

SOURCE B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union

For further information: For further information: Erin Sikora, BCGEU communications, (778) 319-4095

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