AHS says some surgeries postponed due to ‘illegal job action’
Posted October 26, 2020 10:46 am.
Last Updated October 26, 2020 12:47 pm.
EDMONTON (660 NEWS) – Alberta Health Services (AHS) Alberta Health Services said it is taking immediate action with the province’s labour relations board to end an illegal walkout by health-care workers across the province.
Hospital and other health-care workers walked off the job Monday morning to protest recent cuts by the United Conservative government during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) said there are picket lines set up at the Royal Alexandra, University of Alberta and Glenrose hospitals in Edmonton and the Foothills, South Health Campus and Peter Lougheed hospitals in Calgary, as well as others.
We have reached out to staff to ask them to return to work and end the illegal strike. AHS has made an application to the Labour Relations Board today to formally ask the board to direct the affected employees back to work. All AHS sites remain open.
— Alberta Health Services (@AHS_media) October 26, 2020
AHS said the strikes will result in some surgeries and ambulatory care being postponed.
Patients will be contacted directly if their appointments are affected and that visitors may be limited at some sites.
The agency also sent a letter to staff warning that any union workers participating in the strike will be subject to disciplinary action.
— Mansharn Toor (@MansharnToor) October 26, 2020
Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews also commented on the strike action, and said that it puts patient safety at risk.
“Alberta Health Services is taking immediate action with the Alberta Labour Relations Board to end this illegal activity. Those involved in this illegal action will be held accountable,” he said in a statement emailed to media.
“My expectation is that all unions respect the bargaining process, stop putting Albertans’ safety at risk and abide by the law.”
Toews added that health spending is at a record high in Alberta, referencing the government’s commitment to bring costs down in a bid to save money. Two weeks ago, the province also announced they will be laying off thousands of workers and outsourcing some jobs such as laundry.
–With files from The Canadian Press