Thursday, June 28, 2012

Just how are job cuts being carried out in public service?

Hannah Thibideau's CBC report on another round of slash and burn of 4000-plus jobs in the public service did not seem surprising, yesterday, until she noted that, in a specific department where 5 people work, if there are only 3 positions remaining, those 5 would have to compete for the three remaining jobs, and seniority would not apply. In some cases, job notices indicate the job no longer exists and that person is "out", in others, the notice says the person's job is "affected". Those "affected" apparently will be competing for the remaining positions.
Never mind the emotional stress created when former colleagues are now competing for the crumbs left after Harper's austerity program takes hold. The process looks, to this observer, suspiciously like a silent and surreptitious way to gut the unions, and to remove any employee whom the government finds 'difficult' or simply unwanted.
Perhaps this is an overly cynical interpretation of what is being reported. However, with this government, we already know that they hold the labour movement in contempt, that they will do anything to emasculate those unions whose workers have staffed the public service for decades with distinction.
What are the criteria to be met by competitors for the remaining positions?
Who will do the interviews for those competitions?
What panel will provide both oversight and review and possibly appeals to the decisions taken on the competitions for the remaining positions?
What role will the unions play in this silent, secret and inhumane drama that will unfold in the privacy of the publoic service offices over the next several months, if any?
What happened to the contracts that previosly existed between the employer, the Canadian government and the Canadian people, and the thousands of workers whose lives have been and will be turned upside down in order for the government to spend millions on purchases for which they have no mandate, and there is no demonstrated need?
This is not only a national disgrace, it is also a human tragedy, trampling, eviscerating the decades of  struggle for worker rights and benefits by a government whose need for power has not even been fully exposed, and whose manipulation of people in order to serve its ideological goals is historic.

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