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The fight against the privatization of public services intensified in Cape Breton this past week as 356 outside municipal workers took strike action to protect their jobs.

The employer wants the right to contract out for new initiatives, a clause that would lead to the sell-off of public services such as transit, road clearing and garbage collection.

Weve outlined ways the municipality could save tax dollars without contracting out, but they were simply ignored by the mayor and management, said Joe Currie, president of CUPE 759.

To add insult to injury, the employer laid-off 28 workers and plans to lay off another 130 employees next spring.

After a week on the picket line, theres strong support for the workers within the community. CUPE 933, the municipalitys inside workers donated $1000 and may donate an additional $1000 every week for the duration of the strike.

Ironically, some of the biggest supporters for the municipal workers have been contractors themselves. Theyve donated equipment including generators, lights and a trailer to help the workers through their strike.

These are contractors that have worked along side our municipal workers for 20 years, says Jacquie Bramwell, CUPE representative. They realize that bringing multinational corporations into this community is as much a threat to them as it is to us.

Wage parity for transit operators, seniority and floating flex-time which would essentially move employees to a system with no set hours of work also remain to be resolved.