Sunridge layoffs typical of what happens when you privatize health

Duncan – Regarding the sale of the Sunridge extended health care facility and the firing of health care staff.

As far as I know, this firing of staff has occurred before and is a means of lowering staff wages to keep profits in the hands of the owners. This is the downside of privatization and in particular, the downside of privatizing health care.

Staff, who are educated, hardworking, devoted and often raising families of their own, have mortgages to pay, and are left with reduced wages/benefits and the stress of not knowing whether they will be re-hired. Meanwhile the residents (our parents, grandparents and community members) end up getting the brunt of this power-play by the ever-revolving door of privateers looking to make a bigger buck. Residents at these health care facilities actually die during these struggles which privatized health care creates.

I heard today that 800,000 British Columbian residents receive premium assistance due to their low income. When the extended health care facility I once worked at was sold off and the management was contracted out, those of us that were re-hired, though we had not had any previous pay increase over a 10 year pay period, were then left with a 20 per cent reduction in wages and no more dental benefits (unlike our Duncan and Regional District administration staff).

The entire community suffers when health care is privatized leaving hundreds of working people with reduced wages. Homes must be sold because mortgage payments can no longer be met; restaurants receive fewer clients; auto sales decrease; home renovations decrease; movie theatre attendance decreases; and families apply for social assistance such as “premium health care”. The direct influence is that low morale affects resident care, and the greater community at large.

Universal health care was put in place to prevent this kind of exploitation and suffering. Seems that governments that cater to the corporate pockets of the one per cent have no insight into the destruction such corporate giveaways bring on. Our once lucrative economy in B.C. could afford decent union wages due to the successful management of crown corporations such as BC Hydro, BC Telephone, and BC Forests. Those industries once created hundreds of thousands of lucrative employment opportunities across the province. Instead, we now have a situation where privatization sends profits and jobs out of the country… or into the hands of a few corporate directors.

Some of us call this “mutant” capitalism. Such practices have removed our once thriving middle class.

Bill Woollam


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