Bankruptcy of Sask Hospital P3 partner Carillion could leave public on the hook for costs

Rendering of P3 project Sask Hospital North Battleford, SK; Source: Government of Saskatchewan

REGINA – The Saskatchewan government needs to tell the public whether the construction and full contract obligations of the Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford are in jeopardy after news of the collapse of UK-based Carillion, whose Canadian branch Carillion Canada Inc. is a half partner in the consortium awarded the public-private partnership (P3) contract to construct and maintain the new Saskatchewan Hospital in North Battleford. Following the yet-to-be completed construction, Carillion was to be responsible for building maintenance and lifecycle obligations under the thirty-year P3 privatization contract.

“Entering into P3 privatization arrangements are always a risk despite the sales pitch,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan. “P3s are more costly than traditional public procurement. If the private sector company goes bankrupt, it’s the public sector that ends up picking up the expensive pieces. We need to know what will happen with Carillion’s project in North Battleford and what it’s going to cost us,” added Graham.

Carillion, one of Britain’s largest construction companies with extensive operations in Canada, employs over 6,000 workers in Canada and is involved in many P3 projects, including the replacement of the mental health facility in North Battleford. The Globe and Mail reported that the British government may be taking over some of Carillion’s projects following their bankruptcy and liquidation as many public services could be left with no workers to perform vital services such as cleaning and maintenance as soon as Wednesday and construction work on public infrastructure could come to an abrupt halt.

“When public services and infrastructure are privatized through risky P3 contracts, the public is left paying a high price and the Carillion corporation collapse could leave Saskatchewan with an even bigger bill.”

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Over 50 jobs lost in Saskatoon Public Schools since Sask Party’s Austerity Budget

SASKATOON: Saskatoon Public Schools are facing an increasingly dire situation in the wake of the Sask Party budget cuts. Despite an increase of 511 students this school year and the opening of four new schools, the school division had its budget cut by over $11 million. This meant cutting staff instead of increasing staff to meet increased demands.

“Our school divisions have been placed in a very difficult position and have been forced to take drastic cost cutting measures while still trying to provide a proper education for our youth,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan. “School divisions had $54.5 million cut while the government increased education taxes to $67 million, and directed these taxes into the general revenue fund. So where is the $121.5 million going? It isn’t going into education.”

Since the Saskatchewan Party’s March budget, 10 full-time equivalent permanent Educational Assistants, 11.9 full-time equivalent permanent Secretaries, and 1.5 full-time equivalent permanent Library Technician positions have been cut by the Saskatoon Public School Division. 29 temporary Educational Assistant contracts have not been renewed.

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Unions launch People Who Care website

CUPE along with SGEU and SEIU-West are launching a new website, profiling Community Service workers and the important care they provide to Saskatchewan people.

Modeled after the popular Humans of New York website, the People Who Care site features photographs of, and first-person narratives by, workers who provide vital services to some of the most vulnerable people in the province.

“These workers for the most part don’t do this work for the pay,” says CUPE Saskatchewan President Tom Graham. “CBO workers do this work because they feel passionate about caring for their clients. They deserve recognition, and this website will do an amazing job of bringing attention to the workers who will be spending their holidays with their secondary families, their clients.”

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CUPE joins community in call to reverse cut to lab services in Ituna, SK

CUPE 4980 Representative Corinne Sopel(Left), NDP Opposition Critic for Health D. Chartier (Centre), Ituna Town Councillor Nancy Deleurme (Right)

CUPE alongside Ituna community representatives were at the Legislature today to present a petition signed by over 500 residents of Ituna and surrounding area to save their lab services from cuts which were made effective in October of this year. After the petition was introduced, the NDP Opposition Critic for Health called upon the provincial government during question period to listen to the concerns of the community and reverse the cuts to lab services in Ituna which were reduced from five days a week to only three with potential further cuts to come.

The significant cut to lab hours reduces access to health services and critical tests for Ituna area residents. The NDP Opposition Health Critic highlighted the concerns that exorbitant costs of excessive travel or ambulance fees could result when town residents, long-term care residents, and residents with intellectual disabilities in supported living face the need for laboratory tests and the town’s lab is closed for days at a time. Furthermore, cuts to lab hours could make retaining a certified laboratory technologist to run the lab difficult, along with the ability to keep a town doctor in the future.

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Time to address Aboriginal inequality and employment

As detailed in a new CUPE report entitled Reconciling the Gap, recent census data for Saskatchewan shows the Aboriginal population is growing and will likely make up one-fifth of the Saskatchewan population by 2036, while showing a stark picture of the current income and employment inequalities facing Aboriginal people in the province.

On October 25, 2017, Statistics Canada released information regarding the Aboriginal population from the 2016 census.

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National Day of Remembrance and Action to End Violence Against Women: December 6, 2017

Attend a vigil in your community.

The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women was established to honour victims of the December 6, 1989 massacre at École Polytechnique in Montreal, where 14 women were murdered because they were women. One of those women, Maryse Laganière, was a CUPE member who worked at the school.

Canada’s labour movement has shown leadership in making workplaces safer for women and advancing the well-being and rights of women in all areas of society. It’s at the heart of what we do.

Let’s remember and work for change to end violence against women, and all forms of sexual and gender-based violence and discrimination in the workplace, at home, and in the community.

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December 10: Write for Rights on International Human Rights Day

CUPE Saskatchewan’s Global Justice Committee encourages CUPE members to take part in Amnesty International’s Write for Rights events in Regina and Saskatoon on December 10, 2017 –International Human Rights Day. The write-a-thon events bring people together to write letters to human rights defenders and to the governments that are putting them at risk. The write-a-thons are taking place around the world on December 10th.  Your participation and action can help save lives, stop torture, free prisoners of conscience, and send messages of hope to those who have been unjustly jailed.

 

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CUPE Saskatchewan calls on government to scrap its public sector wage mandate

The Saskatchewan Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees is calling on the Saskatchewan Party government to drop the mandated 3.5% compensation reduction for public sector workers that was announced as part of its 2017 provincial budget.

“CUPE is the largest union in Saskatchewan representing over 30,000 workers, with roughly two-thirds of our workers in or going into bargaining in the near future,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan. “Not one single CUPE local has agreed to accept a rollback in compensation since this regressive mandate was announced earlier this year. CUPE bargains forward, not backwards.”

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Official Call: CUPE Saskatchewan Convention 2018

The CUPE Saskatchewan Annual Convention 2018 will be held on March 7 to 9, 2018, at the Radisson Hotel in Saskatoon, SK.

Each year, delegates from affiliated CUPE locals across the province gather at the CUPE Saskatchewan Convention to set the direction and determine priorities for the year ahead, elect members to leadership positions, hear reports about the work being done by our union, and engage in discussions about issues facing CUPE members and the public services we provide.

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