UPDATE: Proposed cuts at 5 Wing weather office off the table: Bolger

Bonnie Learning
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Four of six jobs at the weather office at 5 Wing Goose Bay are being cut. — Photo by The Labradorian

Plans to axe four of six positions at the 5 Wing weather office has been axed itself.

Bernie Bolger, president of PSAC Local 90125, said he was contacted by officials at Serco — the Base service provider —at approximately 9:30 a.m. this morning that the 5 Wing weather office would not lose any positions, as was reported earlier this week.

“There will be no reductions in staff, and the weather office will remain operational 24-7,” said Bolger.

“I feel good, the workers feel good — which is the main reason we took this on, for the workers.”

Bolger said although they have the word that staff and operations are to remain status quo, he said he still plans on following up on the matter.

“We are going to request that the direction (to remain operational 24-7, with six staff members) be put in writing,” noted Bolger.

“Also, we have written requests put to the Minister of National Defence and the Regional Minister for Newfoundland and Labrador, to see why (the decision to cut jobs) all came about in the first place. We also need to see what the future plans for 5 Wing Goose Bay are.”

On Wednesday, Bolger was informed that four of six jobs would be chopped at the weather office at 5 Wing, and hours would be scaled back from a 24-7 operation to a Monday to Friday, 7:30 – 5 p.m. schedule.

Bolger commented this would have had a serious negative impact on the aerial Search and Rescue operations of 444 Combat Support Squadron.

The Labradorian/TC Media

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(Earlier story)

Cuts at 5 Wing will not affect search and rescue: DND

A spokesman for the Department of National Defence (DND) says aerial search and rescue (SAR) by 444 Combat Support Squadron out of 5 Wing Goose Bay will not be affected by upcoming job cuts at the weather office there.

Capt. Jean-François Lambert of Air Force Public Affairs in Ottawa wrote in an email to The Labradorian Thursday morning that mission planning in support of SAR and combat utility flights at 444 Combat Support Squadron do not rely on the 5 Wing weather office.

“(We) instead follow a standard seen across the Royal Canadian Air Force (in) using the centralized service provided by the CAF Weather Service in conjunction with NAV Canada and the National Weather Service,” he noted.

Bernie Bolger, president of Local 90125 of the Union of National Defence Employees, said in his opinion, that is not accurate.

“If 444 CSS gets their information from an automated weather operating system, it is not coming from people on the ground in Goose Bay,” said Bolger.

“That system is not as reliable as people, and in my opinion, it will have a very negative impact on SAR.”

The news of the job cuts comes days after Serco and DND signed a two-year extension to the current service contract.

“The union was informed there would be a reduction in the new two-year extension contract,” Bolger said Wednesday.

He said Serco, the base service provider, was informed Wednesday that four of six jobs will be lost at the weather office at 5 Wing.

“From what we understand, the weather office will be scaled back to two employees, with a Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m.–5 p.m. schedule.

“This will have a negative impact on Triple 444 Search and Rescue, the community, and Labrador as a whole.”

 

The Labradorian

Organizations: Department of National Defence, Canadian Air Force, CAF Weather Service NAV Canada National Weather Service Union of National Defence Employees

Geographic location: Goose Bay, Ottawa, Labrador

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