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Hamiltons latest volley in a row over funding with the Ontario government is issuing layoff notices to 21 seasonal staff.

Despite getting $1.87 million in short-term funding from the province, and despite assuring staff there would be no seasonal layoffs, the gardens abruptly gave 21 groundskeepers members of CUPE 5167 layoff notices with no date of return.

“Just over a year ago, we were assured the RBG had a surplus, that expansion was imminent, and that there would be no seasonal layoffs of staff, said CUPE 5167 president Gus Oliveira. The staff are being used as pawns in a very public political game over funding between the province and the RBG.

The layoffs, leave the gardens with only 18 positions when there would normally be a full complement to prepare the gardens for winter. To make matters worse, the gardens has kept five positions vacant for nearly a year.