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Possible strike looms over Interior Health, essential service planning underway

Unions in Interior Health attempting to reach an agreement
Interior Health workers have been notified of a potential strike (Submitted)

There is ongoing provincial bargaining between Interior Health and workers unions that may impact non-unionized healthcare workers.

Interior Health confirmed that essential service planning is taking place in the event of possible future job action, like a strike.

“Our priority is to ensure that there are safe staffing levels for patients, residents and clients if this does happen,” said Interior Health.

A Kelowna Hospital nurse that wishes to remain anonymous said that she and her colleagues are worried about the implications that a union strike could have on the healthcare system. She said that the hospital is already short-staffed and many of her colleagues feel overworked.

The health region said that certain health care services will be deemed essential and will continue.

“As a result, some unionized staff would continue to work during a strike. These essential service staffing levels are negotiated or adjudicated, if necessary, and, once finalized, are issued in an Order by the Labour Relations Board,” said Interior Health.

All non-union employees are required to support the essential service levels and would be called upon to provide support to clinical and non-clinical areas during a strike, said Interior Health.

It is unconfirmed which union is talking about a strike.

The health region stated that it hopes the involved parties are able to reach a renewed collective agreement without the need for job action.

The health region stated that the public should rest assured that essential services will be maintained and people will be able to get the urgent and emergent services they require.

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Jacqueline Gelineau

About the Author: Jacqueline Gelineau

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