“We have seen the effects when snow clearing is privatized in other provinces. Ontario privatized their snow clearing services, which led to a scathing report from the Auditor General.” ― Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President
Winnipeg (3 Mar. 2020) ― For months now, Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE) members in the Department of Infrastructure have been reporting concerns about the declining level of service being provided by their Department.
Future of workers is uncertain
Skyrocketing employee vacancies, equipment disappearing out of the yards where they work, and being left in the dark about the future of their jobs is extremely disconcerting.
“We have been sounding the alarm for months now that we believe the government is planning to privatize Manitoba’s snow clearing,” said Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President. “I wrote Minister Schuler in November raising concerns about the department – and asking for a meeting. In December his Deputy Minister responded, which did not address our concerns. I’m still waiting to see if he will meet with me.” The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) previously shared a story from MGEU warning that public safety will be put at risk if highway maintence is privatized.
What we know:
- The government hired a private consultant and imbedded them in the Department of Infrastructure with the instructions to review the entire department.
- In the job classification of Operator alone, we know that there are currently about 70 vacancies for workers who operate snow clearing equipment, impacting the level of service our members are able to deliver to Manitobans.
- The government released 7 tenders for snow clearing on provincial roads late last year.
- The government has started stockpiling equipment for auction in Brandon and Beausejour in the coming months. This equipment includes truck plows and graders that are used for snow clearing.
Watch the video
“I had the opportunity to go to Beausejour recently and see for myself the stockpiling of equipment for sale,” said Gawronsky. “We’ve put together a short video of what I saw and what’s at risk.”
“We have seen the effects when snow clearing is privatized in other provinces. Ontario privatized their snow clearing services, which led to a scathing report from the Auditor General,” said Gawronsky. “It was discovered that contractors used less equipment, less salt and gravel, they patrolled less often, which resulted in reductions of service and outright service failures.”
Help keep Manitoba highway snow clearing and maintenance public! Send the Premier and the Minister a message.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE