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(Baddeck) The president of the Nova Scotia Highway Workers Union says a recent spate of letters in Cape Breton newspapers from drivers frustrated by lack of snow plowing in Inverness County, should be a red flag to provincial government.

Gareth Drinnan, president of CUPE Local 1867 and a Big Baddeck resident himself, says, Were glad these people are going public with their concerns. In fact, we agree with them! The problem is province-wide.

The fact of the matter is, over the last 10 years both Liberal and now Tory governments have systematically dismantled what was once a proud and mighty workforce of men and women who kept our roads safe and clear.

Says Drinnan, The Department of Transportation has embarked on a major downsizing in the form of less equipment, less employees and contracting out to the private sector. Has this been a successful strategy? I think the letters speak for themselves on that question.

Drivers in Inverness County this winter are seeing the end result less gear on the road and fewer resources all around. Its important to remind people that this province has lost close to 1,000 highway workers over the last 10 years, adds Drinnan.

Drinnan says his union has been fighting this problem, through public campaigns and political lobbying, but desperately needs the help of the public to put pressure on the decision makers. Nova Scotians need to take ownership of this problem, pick up the phone, call their MLAs and give then an earful, he says.

Unfortunately, highway workers dont make the decisions about the level of service. That decision is made by our managers and its as frustrating for us as it is for the people who are now making impassioned pleas in the local press, says Drinnan.

Says Drinnan, It bothers me when I hear on the radio in the morning that buses will not be running on the back roads because of icy conditions. Those people pay taxes too. People nowadays work 24/7 and our operation should be run that way.

For information:
Gareth Drinnan, President, CUPE Local 1867
(902) 832-1867 (o)
(902) 295-2241 (h)
John McCracken, CUPE Communications Rep.
(902) 455-4180 (o)