Labour board orders health-care staff who walked off the job to go back to work

EDMONTON - Alberta’s labour relations board has ruled that hospital and other health-care staff who walked off the job Monday to protest recent cuts acted illegally and must return to work.

In a decision issued late Monday that followed a hearing earlier in the day, the board’s ruling stated that their refusal to work amounts to an illegal strike under the province’s Labour Relations Code, and they must return to work according to their scheduled shifts.

Finance Minister Travis Toews said in a news release following the ruling that he was pleased with the decision and expected the leadership of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees “to ensure that all employees return to work immediately.”

Alberta Health Services, which delivers health-care in the province, said in a statement that it also expected staff members to return to work as scheduled.

Earlier this month, Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced the 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.

There was no immediate reaction to the ruling from the union.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 26, 2020.

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