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Peterborough chapter rallies for hospital food workers

Photo by Adam Coones

The Council of Canadians Peterborough chapter rallied for local hospital food workers today.

In a recent media release, CUPE (which represents the workers) states, “Local and provincial support is building for 30 food service staff at the Peterborough hospital. When these jobs were contracted-out to global giant Compass, wages for these workers were cut in half.  Now in contract talks with Compass, food staff are asking for a very modest wage increase and improved working conditions. A rally to support negotiations and a fair deal for them, is slated for Monday, June 20, 2016 at 12 noon on Hospital Drive at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC).”

That media release adds, “The Peterborough hospital has a yearly budget of about $230 million. A small wage increase for the food workers amounts to 0.01 per cent ($36,000) of the hospital’s $230 million a year operating budget, the equivalent of just $19 a week, per worker.”

And a May 2015 CUPE media release noted, “Despite working for a company that holds lucrative contracts with publicly funded institutions, food service workers at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre are subject to low wages and precarious part-time hours. Most are not eligible for benefits and none receives any sick days, despite a working environment that focuses on health and good hygiene.”

Peterborough This Week reports, “Negotiators for both sides are meeting this Tuesday, June 21. …A labour disruption by food-service workers at the hospital is a ‘very real and unfortunate possibility’ if talks don’t resolve an impasses on Tuesday, says the president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions.”

As noted on their website, Compass Group Canada is “the country’s leading foodservice and support services company, with over 30,000 associates working throughout the country and managed revenues of $1.9 billion in 2015. Employing 500,000 associates worldwide, our parent company, UK-based Compass Group PLC had revenues of £17.1 billion as at September 30, 2014.”

Compass food workers in Peterborough have now gone without a contract for over two years.