ST. JOHN'S, Feb. 7 /CNW/ - The union representing federal workers who
provide employment, pension and other important services across
Newfoundland and Labrador is adding its voice to the growing chorus
criticizing Service Canada's decision to severely reduce service in a
number of smaller communities across the province.
Service Canada has announced that it will close its existing 'outreach
offices' in the 13 communities of Port Saunders, Pollards Point,
Bonavista, Burgeo, HR Breton, Forteau Labrador, Ramea, New Wes Valley,
Twillingate, Old Perlican, Trepassy, Baie Verte and St. Albans.
Denise Richey, National Vice-President of the Canada Employment and
Immigration Union for its Newfoundland and Labrador membership, says
Service Canada instead now plans to send a staff person to those
communities for one day every two weeks. "This is simply a shuffling of
already-overworked staff from larger to smaller centres.
"Federal cutbacks have seen the number of our members staffing rural
offices fall from roughly 40 to between 10 and 15. The net result is
dramatically less access, greater waiting time and a legitimate sense
of being second-class citizens. These people deserve nothing less than
the same level of quality professional services our members provide to
Jeannette Meunier-McKay, the union's National President, says the cuts
"will penalize smaller communities with a generally older population
and higher level of unemployment. Service Canada, presumably with the
support of the Harper government, is again treating the people of
Newfoundland and Labrador with disdain."
The CEIU also has the full backing of its bargaining agent, the Public
Service Alliance of Canada. "We are proud of the service we provide to
all Canadians. Service reductions in rural areas, especially in
Newfoundland and Labrador, are a totally unacceptable attack on seniors
and the unemployed," added Jeannie Baldwin, the PSAC's Regional
Executive Vice-President for the Atlantic Region.
Service Canada's actions come at a particularly low point in its
dealings with its employees. On January 25, CEIU's Newfoundland and
Labrador leadership voted to cut consultation ties with management over
a number of issues, including staffing and service levels and workload.
The Canada Employment and Immigration Union represents more than 19,000
federal public service workers, including those who counsel clients,
process employment insurance claims and provide pension and income
security program assistance.
SOURCE CANADA EMPLOYMENT AND IMMIGRATION UNION
For further information:
Denise Richey, CEIU National Vice-President, Newfoundland and Labrador
Jeannette Meunier-McKay, CEIU National President