Some changes are coming to housekeeping and waste management at North Island Hospital.

The Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU) says that these services, currently delivered by Compass Canada, will be brought under the direct control of the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) at the Comox and Campbell River sites starting October 1st.

“Housekeeping staff are critical and valued members of the health care team in Comox and Campbell River,” says HEU secretary-business manager Jennifer Whiteside. “It’s appropriate that their work is managed and directed by the health authority, and that these workers are subject to the same collective provisions as those they work beside every day.”

HEU says it’s the first “contracting in” of health services under provisions negotiated in last year’s facilities bargaining.

“This is just the beginning of a process to bring work back in house across the province,” Whiteside says. “We represent thousands of workers in contracted support services across B.C., and every one of those workers is critical to the functioning of our health care team.”

“And we will continue to make the case to repatriate these services to the direct control of health authorities,” Whiteside adds. “These workers deserve no less.”

The union represents the 150 cleaners and waste management workers at both sites.

HEU and VIHA are now negotiating a labour adjustment plan that the union says “will ensure all staff are seamlessly transferred from their current employer to the health authority.”

Staff will be covered by the same collective agreement provisions as other HEU members at the North Island Hospital.

Over the next few weeks, VIHA plans to hold information sessions where they will outline the transition process for cleaning and waste management staff.