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Privatization of hospital support services: Pay equity is at stake, warns the Coalition for Pay Equity

2015-04-29

The New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity calls on the government to reverse its decision to privatize hospital support services.

“We are deeply concerned about the impact that privatization of these services could have on pay equity. Most of the targeted jobs are predominantly held by women,” says Vallie Stearns, Chair of the Coalition. “We know from previous provincial government experience with privatisation in predominantly female fields that wages are in danger to drop drastically. We know that women working in other health related services in the private sector take home little more than the minimum wage.”

A 2014 study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives confirms the Coalition’s fear. It showed that women’s wages were lower in the private sector than in the public sector, while men’s wages were higher in the private sector[1].

“The irony is that hospital support services completed job evaluations with the purpose of ensuring equal pay for work of equal value in predominantly female jobs in 2008. Now, by transferring these jobs to the private sector, we are going backward instead of reaffirming women’s right to pay equity.”

Three sectors are targeted for privatization:

  • Environmental Services (maintenance), where according to the Coalition’s estimates roughly 80% of 1170 workers are women.
  • Food Services, where nearly 90 % of the 955 workers are women.
  • Porters (and Orderlies), where approximately 40% of the 225 workers are women.

Vallie Stearns urges the government to respect its promise to move forward on pay equity and to use a gender-based analysis in its decisions, including its program review and budgets. “Minister Boudreau’s announcement on April 23, 2015 alarms us. Women should not bear the burden of deficit reduction. They have been waiting so long for pay equity. This is unfair. New Brunswick can do better than this.”


[1] Kate McInturff and Paul Tulloch. 2014. Narrowing the Gap: The Difference That Public Sector Wages Make. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

 

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