HALIFAX – The union representing Halifax’s municipal outside workers says years and years of contracting out and a shrunken workforce are coming back to haunt senior managers and council this winter.
CUPE 108 President Mike Young says, “Our members are working flat out, they’re being denied vacations and they simply do not have the gear or the number of operators that we need to get the work done.”
“We have a municipal workforce that has been reduced dramatically over the last ten to fifteen years, and now it has backfired on the people who made the decision to contract out all of that work,” says Young. “Another one of management’s favourite tricks is not filling vacancies in order to save money. This also compromises our snow and ice clearing capacity.”
CUPE points to a binge of contracting out in 2012 which included more than $17 million in snow removal contracts, as just one example.
The union has been arguing for several years now that the work can be done cheaper and more efficiently in-house because, among other things, private contractors typically make a profit of between 15 and 20 per cent, municipalities have an HST exemption and they can buy fuel in bulk.