B.C. hospital cleaners and dietary workers vote to strike

The strike could affect 75 hospitals all across B.C.

Hospital cleaners and dietary workers across 75 hospitals in B.C. have voted overwhelmingly to strike, according to a release from the Hospital Employee Union.

Employees set to go on strike include cleaning and dietary staff on mid and south Vancouver Island, cleaning and dietary staff at Vancouver Coastal Health and only cleaning staff at Fraser Health; with the exception of Abbotsford Regional Hospital where dietary staff are also covered by the HEU. The cleaning and dietary workers are employed by four companies: Aramark, Acciona, Sodexo, Compass and Compass’ subsidiary Marquise.

RELATED: Strike vote results will determine next steps for hospital employees union

Only three hospitals in the Fraser Health region remain unaffected: Langley Memorial, Peace Arch and Ridge Meadows.

According to the union, the vote comes after two weeks of balloting wrapped up on Friday. Union employees are unhappy with what they see as a lack of job security and unfair wages but HEU secretary-business manager Jennifer Whiteside said that she hopes that talks can still prevent a strike.

“We believe that a fair and reasonable agreement is within reach if employers get serious about addressing low wages and a total lack of job security that creates uncertainty for workers when health authorities change contractors,” said Whiteside.

More to come.

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