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RPNs protest Bill 124 at Sault Area Hospital (5 photos)

Healthcare workers are calling on Ford government to address lack of compensation and staffing shortages

RPNs represented by Unifor Local 1359 were outside the Sault Area Hospital this afternoon calling on Doug Ford's government to address what they say is poor and unfair compensation for healthcare workers.

Protesters are demanding the Progressive Conservatives eliminate Bill 124, which limits wage increases for public sector workers, including nurses, to a maximum of one per cent per year for three years.

Andy Savela, the director of healthcare for Unifor Canada, says the bill was an unacceptable move in 2019, and is outraged it still exists after what nurses endured over the last two years.

"These workers haven't been treated fairly," he says. "We think it's shameful the Ford government continues to apply Bill 124 to not only RPNs, but to all classifications of healthcare workers who really stepped up and went above and beyond during the pandemic."

Savela also noted the province's staffing crisis in hospitals and long-term care homes has had a detrimental impact on the healthcare system and their employees, but he's hopeful voters will keep this in mind when they head to the polls on June 2.

"What happened in long-term care was nothing short of a humanitarian crisis," he says. "We're going to encourage our members to bring as many people as they can on election day and ask them to send a strong message that healthcare workers deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, and that they're compensated fairly."