CUPE holds rally at Regina hospital on cost of living for health-care workers

A rally was held at Regina’s Pasqua Hospital to raise awareness about the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on health-care workers.
On Friday, CUPE hosted the bargaining information rally where health-care workers, the public and allies were in attendance.“We had hoped the provincial budget would have recognized the crisis on the front lines of health care, but unfortunately, we didn’t see any meaningful plans to address retention of existing health care staff,” CUPE 5430 president Bashir Jalloh said in a release. “We are also now seeing that most of the health investments in the budget are being directed to private health services rather than desperately needed investments to build up and fix our public health care system.”According to a release, CUPE 5430’s recent cost-of-living survey shows a full 86 per cent of survey respondents said they cut back on their grocery budget to make ends meet, while 84 per cent said they also cut back on leisure activities and hobbies, 77 per cent said they delayed a major purchase and 73 per cent cancelled or scaled back vacation plans. Story continues below advertisement

Victor Castro, a continuing care assistant, said health-care workers are suffering during the cost-of-living crisis and that they need better recognition.

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“Some of us have three jobs. This regular full-time job doesn’t really suffice to the expenses that we have now,” Castro said. “Things are just getting higher and more expensive and we can’t do nothing about that.”The main request is to implement a competitive wage and Jalloh said nurses are leaving Saskatchewan for higher wages in other provinces. Health-care workers at the rally said they plan to continue bargaining and having rallies until they come to an agreement with the province.

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“We’re going to continue doing this rally in the province to raise awareness to the public,” Jalloh said. “If we want to invest in our health-care system, we have to invest in our current staff we have to make it attractive for our kids in this country to pursue a career in health care.”The Ministry of Health said in a statement that it is investing $142 million into its Health Human Resources Action Plan (HHRAP) to recruit, train and retain health-care workers.Through the HHRAP, it’s created 66 additional training seats and has hired 1,000 nursing graduates, filled 223 permanent full-time positions, hired 305 rural positions.CUPE 5430 represents more than 14,000 health service providers working for the Saskatchewan Health Authority and affiliates.

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