Canada

Hospital and health-care staff in Alberta to return to work today

EDMONTON - Hospital and health-care staff are to return to work today after the Alberta Labour Relations Board ruled they acted illegally when walking off the job to protest recent cuts.

In a decision issued late Monday, the board ruled the workers’ refusal to work amounted to an illegal strike under the province’s Labour Relations Code, and they must return to work according to their scheduled shifts.

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, which represents the workers, said it would notify its members of their obligation to obey the labour board’s directive.

The AUPE represents about 58,000 health-care workers, although it wasn’t clear how many walked off the job.

There were reports of picketing outside the Royal Alexandra Hospital and University of Alberta in Edmonton, Foothills Hospital and the South Health Campus in Calgary, as well as at many other facilities across the province.

Earlier this month, Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced the United Conservative government would be cutting up to 11,000 health jobs to save money during the pandemic, but he said nurses and front-line clinical staff would not be affected.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 27, 2020.

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