More layoffs trickling in: NAPE

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Barb Sweet
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Premier pleads for public not to panic, and let government get through process

NAPE President Carol Furlong

The Newfoundland and Labrador Union of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) said Friday it’s hearing of layoffs in several departments.

“We’re not sure what the numbers are,” said president Carol Furlong.

But she said the union has heard of a couple layoffs in each of the departments of Finance, Health, Natural Resources and Environment.

“I sure as heck don’t think it’s going to get any better,” Furlong said.

“There’s considerable anxiety and tension in the public services. … It’s a very difficult time.”

Furlong said the public should be concerned about the services they are going to get as a result of layoffs and hiring freezes.

As well, Furlong said it points to poor succession planning as young people have nowhere to go in government.

Speaking to reporters Friday morning, Premier Kathy Dunderdale said cuts are happening, but people shouldn’t panic.

“We’re only partway through the pro­cess, and I’m going to say the same thing that I said last year: you’ve got to let us get through the process and see what the end result is going to be,” she said. “It was the speculation last year on what it might be that created all the furor and anxiety.”

The Telegram also reported Friday that there are 21 vacancies among client-services officers in income support across the province.

Furlong said not only will that cause frustration on behalf of income-support recipients, but also burnout on those officers who remain, who will bear the brunt of clients’ frustrations.

Workers could end up off work on stress because of the extra workload, she said.

Also this week, The Telegram reported three layoffs at the College of North Atlantic headquarters.

And according to the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corp, (NLC) nine full-time management positions and three union positions were terminated as a result of a budget process review.

A spokesman said had the corporation maintained the current cost structure, it would not have been able to reach its performance objectives for the next fiscal period starting in April.

The Human Resources Secretariat could not be reached for comment on departmental layoffs.

A hiring freeze had already been announced, affecting departments — including frontline workers such as sheriff’s officers, prison guards, wildlife officers and inspectors — but it did not extend to agencies and boards such as Nalcor, the health boards, school boards and others.

But some have taken their own austerity measures, such as Eastern Health, which announced in May plans to eliminate the equivalent of 550 full-time positions, while avoiding permanent staff layoffs, as it tries to tackle deficts dating back to 2007-08.

 

Lack of trust

Liberal Burgeo-La Poile MHA Andrew Parsons said the public doesn’t trust the government to tell the truth anymore, because of past predictions that didn’t come to fruition.

And he said the temporary hiring freeze was haphazard.

Hirings must be absolutely necessary and during that time any department that wants to hire somebody will need special permission from the Human Resource Secretariat, whose minister is Jerome Kennedy.

The deficit is projected to total nearly $4 billion over three years.

Parsons said the situation was brought about by poor planning and management on the part of the Tory government.

“This never should have got here,” he said. “They have used up their credibility.”

St. John’s North NDP MHA Dale Kirby said there are vital positions in public security and safety that potentially could be left unfilled as a result of the hiring freeze.

“It’s all very unfortunate because we hear time and again from groups who are in fairly difficult positions when it come to getting levels of government services comparable to other jurisdictions in Canada,” he said.

“This is just a sad state of affairs we have come to after a decade of this government’s stay in power.”

 

bsweet@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Union of Public and Private Employees, Human Resources Secretariat, The Telegram Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor

Geographic location: Canada

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Recent comments

  • Coffee Please
    March 06, 2013 - 11:16

    Wow, what a disaster! I can't believe we still live in a time where people cheer on union breaking tatics from the government. Of course the people cheering this on are the ones who are to blind or stupid to see what the fallout from the union busting will be. These are the kind of people who if they are unhappy want everyone else to be unhappy, instead of wondering why they are unhappy and demanding more! The government has yet again miss spent our money and now asks us to tighten our belts. We should be raking in money, not laying off people. Eventually the unions will fall and big business will get its way and the markets will open up! Sounds good right? Except for the fact that 95% will not benefit from this arrangement. Wages and living condition will decrease. But please keep cheering it on!

  • RJ
    March 03, 2013 - 17:30

    I wonder if Dunderdale is going to try and rig the election like she does the "popularity polls"...that would be about the only way she would get back in. It's not going to be the big salaries that they're going to cut from the public service. They will cut the jobs of those receiving smaller salaries who are on the front line. So those of us who are not working in the public sector will feel the effects of the cuts for years to come with respect to health care and education. You think waiting 6-10 hours in an emergency room is bad now. Just wait until Dunderdale is done. Poor planning is an understatement! Yet they continue to spend millions of dollars in projects which they rush through with very little thought.

  • sc
    March 03, 2013 - 10:10

    What's with all these real and projected lay-offs? I thought the Premier and her sidekicks were promoting this province as the land of opportunity with unlimited potential etc. and that all this wealth was entirely due to the government's brilliant management of the economy. If that is so, why is it now claiming that there is a huge deficit just around the corner? What does it say about a government's handling of the economy if it can create such a huge deficit at the same time the economy is booming?Either the government has been, and continues to be, less than honest with the people, or it is one of the most incompetent in recent history. Does anyone believe that it's just coincidence that the announcement of this anticipated deficit occurs just as Dunderdale and Co. are in negotiations with various unions? Can we believe anything that the government says especially when it hides so much from the public view?

  • Sailorman
    March 03, 2013 - 09:17

    Most of the jobs that will be cut won't be high paying jobs. My wife works 12 hour shifts at Eastern Health and just makes over $20 an hour. She is called for overtime just about every day and at the end of her 12 hour, very physical shift, if they don't have enough workers in because of sick calls, she will get mandated to stay. Now would you want your loved ones to be cared for by a overworked and tired person who may have just worked 16-18 hours. I certainly would not. Its getting so bad for her now that if they have to go on strike, because she is considered a essential worker she will still have to work for no pay except the little the union will give to her. I can see her stress level has rose over the past year and I can also see a new career in her sights, in another province and the DUNDERDALE GOVERNMENT will be making us move.

  • Anne
    March 03, 2013 - 00:17

    I know that many people not working in the public service see us public servants as over paid and lazy. This type of worker exists in all sectors...I've worked in public and private and I can tell you that I AM a part of the middle class. Cuts that are happening are not happening to gov't staff earning 6 figures. They are happening to the normal Joe who is working pay cheque to pay cheque. Please remember that we are your neighbours, your friends and family and don't be so quick to dismiss the effect these job losses are having on us. Those left behind are being asked to do the work of 2 and 3 people without affecting the service to the public. Everyone will feel these cuts. We need your support not your criticism...

  • Joe
    March 02, 2013 - 23:01

    She is gone boys she is gone. How many times do NFLD- ers have to be told we are never going to make it with the lack of leader ship we have been getting in government. How many of our youth have to leave this province before we get it. It's time for change and it is now, we need to put in place a government that is for the people and not for the selfish and narrowminded idiots that we have been electing to government. Our present political system is corrupt and needs to be changed. Newfoundland needs to stop electing the same old parties to power. It's time for a new political system with a new political party, The Newfoundland and Labrador party a party for the geographic and natural resources of this great province before it is too late. The time has come for CHANGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • poppa
    March 02, 2013 - 14:50

    Unions are organizations designed to protect the lazy, sub-standard and incompetent

  • Kels
    March 02, 2013 - 14:35

    I'm sure there are many redundant government jobs! Sadly she will not get rid of the top paying ones....

  • Regina
    March 02, 2013 - 13:50

    Contrary to popular belief, not all government employees sit on their hands and collect money. Nurses, firemen, policemen are all government employees just to name a few. Maybe the next time you need to be treated at a hospital, or need help from a fireman or policeman and they're not there because of layoffs you may think twice about your comments. Many government employees work hard for their money and deserve every penny they make and more. It's really easy to sit and criticize government workers when you have no idea what their job entails.

  • Disgusted Tory Supporter
    March 02, 2013 - 13:40

    I can not believe that this government is so stupid.Do they not realize they were elected by the people for the people? When I hear of all the cutbacks and lay offs my first concern is not for the person being laid off but for the people they serve.I feel empathy for those with no jobs but look at the supports that are taken from the general public. Look at the crime rate within the juvenile group.How many young people are lost because they did not receive the support they needed.There is a Youth Rehabilitation Building in Whitbourne housing 2 residents. You mean to tell me Madame Premier that no other teens need help.I beg to differ and I blame you for their lives becoming failures. Teens rob,break in to businesses,destroy property,use and sell drugs and go to court and are put on probation.Their problems are never addressed because we must save the Almighty dollar for the mega projects not the individuals who need help.I have seen a number of people in a twenty mile radius who have lost their lives through drugs and I have seen teens who have lived and continued a life of crime. Who do I blame ? You ,and your government did not provide the resouces necessary for these children to turn their lives around.You will go down in history alright for all the damage you have done to your people.

  • Disgusted Tory Supporter
    March 02, 2013 - 13:38

    I can not believe that this government is so stupid.Do they not realize they were elected by the people for the people? When I hear of all the cutbacks and lay offs my first concern is not for the person being laid off but for the people they serve.I feel empathy for those with no jobs but look at the supports that are taken from the general public. Look at the crime rate within the juvenile group.How many young people are lost because they did not receive the support they needed.There is a Youth Rehabilitation Building in Whitbourne housing 2 residents. You mean to tell me Madame Premier that no other teens need help.I beg to differ and I blame you for their lives becoming failures. Teens rob,break in to businesses,destroy property,use and sell drugs and go to court and are put on probation.Their problems are never addressed because we must save the Almighty dollar for the mega projects not the individuals who need help.I have seen a number of people in a twenty mile radius who have lost their lives through drugs and I have seen teens who have lived and continued a life of crime. Who do I blame ? You ,and your government did not provide the resouces necessary for these children to turn their lives around.You will go down in history alright for all the damage you have done to your people.

  • Doodles
    March 02, 2013 - 11:10

    Come on By's!!!!!!! Dats da kind of stuff dat always happens. Out 'ere in da oil patch, when oil price drops, da whole province goes into panic mode. Dats da way life goes! Git a grip on yerselves. Cuts happen. Dey has to, in order to make sure dat da tings dat are good are kipt around! Dats da way life goes. Ye all should know dat deres only 2 tings dat you can count on. Death and Taxes! and deres lots of dat beck on da rock!

  • Danny
    March 02, 2013 - 10:53

    Hee hee...So a few ppl who have collected cheques to play on laptop @ the office are being cut....yawn!!

  • JJT
    March 02, 2013 - 10:22

    Well, at least we'll have all that sweet, sweet Muskrat Falls power for whoever's left here. Last one off the island please turn out the lights!

  • david
    March 02, 2013 - 09:14

    First of all, the Public Service needs to get a grip...they went from having an overpaid 'job for life', to worrying about their next paycheques....welcome to the first glimpse of the 'real world' you may have ever seen. Second, this is what happens when governments ignore reality and focus on getting themselves elected ----- they sow the seeds for their inevitable un-election. But for them, being in power for at least a moment is better than the alternative, no matter what the cost. After alll, it's not their money. That is how myopically stupid our politicans are, anbd why we won't have anything to show for this oil windfall. Nothing.

  • J
    March 02, 2013 - 09:12

    To all the Government employees. Government can't expand forever and this one is certainly bloated by any measure. The cuts have to come and are due. Us, the middle class taxpayers are getting the squeeze and no matter how many full page adverts in the Telegram and radio ads you put out you are still coming off as greedy and out of touch with those of us (the taxpayers) that 'pay' your salaries.

    • A Government Employee
      March 02, 2013 - 18:51

      I love the old ways of thinking that government employees are highly paid and our salaries are something to be desired...its a crock. As a goverment employee I have to disagree, not entirely but mostly, to your comment "J". I consider myself middle class. I am not in a managment position nor a MHA or something higher...that is where the money is...I am just in an administrative position and between my salary, my spouses salary (who is in private industry) and paying our small mortage and childcare, we are barely unable to keep up the the growing costs of living just like anyone else outside of government..in fact, there are many in the private sector that have just as many benefits and higher salaries than I do. I do agree that there are some positons in governement that have become redunant and theyshould be first ones to go or at least looked at first. So to you "J" I leave with this, get out of the old school opinion that government employees are rich. It's certainly not like that any more.

    • Brad
      March 02, 2013 - 21:53

      I agree...to a point. As much as I'm not a fan of unions, NAPE really illustrated the problems and issues out well in their ad campaign. How can we have a "booming economy" when many people have to, in some cases, permanently leave the province for work? Why are so many people here struggling to make ends meet? The messages government are sending doesn't make sense at all.

    • Jack
      March 03, 2013 - 07:58

      At the same time, they shouldn't use low income individuals and disabled persons as sacrificial lambs like Kathy Dunderdale and Joan Shea are doing now. In fact, they are hurting them as Advanced Education and Skills are cutting off funding to Employment Assistance Service agencies and Community Employment organizations. (Source: VOCM "Liberal MHA Appalled by Announcement on Employment Assistance", http://www.vocm.com/newsarticle.asp?mn=2&id=31566&latest=1). If Joan Shea was to stoop to a new low of discriminating against disabled persons, not only should she be banned from attending the 2016 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games when they are held in Corner Brook, she should be sent to Nova Scotia to learn about the consequences of neglecting those with disabilities wanting to become part of the workforce. Due to inadequate funding, long wait periods of service, and forcing disabled persons to search for jobs on their own with minimal help, disabled Nova Scotians have a very high unemployment rate, among Canada's highest, putting a major strain on taxpayers in Income Assistance costs. I used to live in Nova Scotia, and had similar problems.

  • FormerTory
    March 02, 2013 - 09:04

    I bet Dunderdale wouldn't be so cocky if her job is on the line here... oh wait it is!! I hope she has a good job lined up for 2015, because she won't be in the house anymore.... she shouldn't even bother running = she's got a good penion now... I think it is a little fishy that the Govt has a massive deficit all of a sudden when they need to start bargining.... Maybe Kent, Lane and the bys can get on twitter and explain their reasons why..... speaking of Kent - I'm dissapointed in him... he had so much potential and has turned into one of them..

  • FormerTory
    March 02, 2013 - 09:03

    I bet Dunderdale wouldn't be so cocky if her job is on the line here... oh wait it is!! I hope she has a good job lined up for 2015, because she won't be in the house anymore.... she shouldn't even bother running = she's got a good penion now... I think it is a little fishy that the Govt has a massive deficit all of a sudden when they need to start bargining.... Maybe Kent, Lane and the bys can get on twitter and explain their reasons why..... speaking of Kent - I'm dissapointed in him... he had so much potential and has turned into one of them..

  • Corporate Psycho
    March 02, 2013 - 08:17

    Another crowd for Fort Mac. With more to come. If the economy goes belly up in Alberta we are really going to be in trouble. The plane loads of people flying in and out is astounding.