Union vows to fight lay-offs at the National Gallery of Canada

    OTTAWA, Sept. 3 /CNW Telbec/ - The union representing workers at the
National Gallery of Canada plans to fight the lay-offs announced this week at
the gallery. The Public Service Alliance of Canada represents 12 workers who
were laid off this week and is particularly concerned about the callous way
they were treated by the gallery's management. PSAC represents more than
166,000 workers across Canada, primarily in the federal public sector.
    "Managers at the National Gallery showed tremendous disrespect for the
employees and the collective agreement this week," said Maria Fitzpatrick,
PSAC's Regional Executive Vice-President for the National Capital Region.
"They laid off the workers without providing any justifiable reasons,
escorting them off the premises after changing the locks on their offices."
    Fitzpatrick explained that the lay-offs and the manner in which they were
conducted clearly violate the collective agreement. PSAC will file grievances
and take other actions to contest the lay-offs, as they are just a poor
"band-aid solution," designed to disguise the serious management problems that
have plagued the National Gallery for many years.
    During a meeting with the employees this morning, a representative from
the gallery's human resources department said that every lay-off was motivated
by a "business case." When pressed by the laid-off workers to provide more
details about these "business cases," the human resources representative left
the meeting.
    Philippe Carpentier, President of the PSAC Local at the National Gallery,
believes the lay-offs will considerably reduce the quality of services
provided to the public at the gallery. The laid-off employees worked in
records management and as guides. Some have almost 30 years of experience.
    "People visiting the gallery will pay a high price for these lay-offs,"
Carpentier said. "All of the professional tour guides have been fired, making
the gallery's ability to deliver quality education programs all but
    Carpentier also indicated that the union will challenge the proposed
contracting out of the Gallery's bookstore and the subsequent loss of both
quality public service jobs and revenue for the Gallery. According to
Carpentier, the PSAC collective agreement at the NGC contains language
preventing the employer from giving to a third party work that should normally
be done within the PSAC bargaining unit.
    The current collective agreement between PSAC and the National Gallery of
Canada will expire in June 2010. Fitzpatrick and Carpentier indicated that
they are beginning to prepare for the next round of negotiations and are
determined to introduce a "no lay-off" clause in the next contract.

For further information:

For further information: To arrange media interviews, please call: Alain
Cossette, PSAC Communications, (613) 293-9210

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