PEI government lay-offs hit 200 seasonal workers

PEI government issues lay-off notices to 200 seasonal highway maintenance workers.

logo for the PEI Union of Public Sector Employess (PEIUPSE/NUPGE)Charlottetown (03 April 2012) - The President of the Prince Edward Island Union of Public Sector Employees Union (PEIUPSE/NUPGE) is disappointed with proposed changes to the PEI Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Highway Maintenance Summer Program that will result in over 200 workers across the province not returning to their seasonal jobs.

"Premier Ghiz is very critical of the federal government in relation to federal job cuts in Prince Edward Island but when it comes to provincial workers, he seems to be attacking the regions and people who will be hit the hardest namely seasonal workers in rural areas," said President Shelley Ward.

PEIUPSE/NUPGE was told that all of the seasonal workers in the Summer Program were effectively laid off and half of those laid-off will be re-hired for a 20-week schedule. Previously, there were two crews each working 14-week schedules. The union has asked for the list of workers who received letters of lay-off and will be working to ensure that all remaining positions will be filled from this list.

Highway Maintenance workers provide a valuable public service keeping our transportation system in good repair. The union has been told that effective immediately there is a specific set of qualifications that will be required for these jobs and PEIUPSE/NUPGE expects that this will be adhered to. The re-hired workers will continue to be members of the union.

The changes to the Summer Program were made through changes in policy and the union had no role in the decisions. "The government made a decision and then told us that letters were being sent to their workers," said Ward. "We reviewed the situation and determined that government was acting outside the collective agreement but within their seasonal hiring and recall guidelines. They effectively kept us out of the loop."

The union believes that changes to the Civil Service Act and Regulations are needed to improve hiring practices for seasonal and casual government workers and to better protect seasonal and casual workers within the collective agreement framework. President Ward encourages such workers, and all Islanders, to communicate with their elected officials in order to make these improvements happen.

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 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