New Brunswick

Health workers protest privatization

More than 200 unionized workers demonstrated in Moncton Friday against the privatization of some hospital support jobs.

More than 200 CUPE members marched in Moncton Friday

Members of CUPE protest the planned privatization of some hospital support worker jobs in front of Moncton City Hall. (Radio-Canada)

More than 200 unionized hospital workers demonstrated in Moncton Friday over the provincial government's plans to privatize the management of non-medical services.

Health Minister Victor Boudreau announced the move last week, saying it could save millions of dollars, but may mean job losses.

The targeted support services include porters and orderlies, as well as maintenance and food service workers.

The marchers included support workers, licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and lab workers.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees members started at Crown Plaza at noon and proceeded to Moncton City Hall, where Norman Robinson, of the New Brunswick Council of Hospital Unions, addressed the crowd.

"We have statistics from across the world and across Canada to show that when private companies come in, they do things cheaper, which is going to increase the amounts of infections in hospitals," said Robinson.

"People are going to die," he said.

Boudreau has said the employees doing the work will remain unionized, public-sector workers, but there may be fewer of them.

The government is currently negotiating with a private company, but Boudreau could not say when the new management system will be put in place.

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