Wednesday, September 12, 2012

$100 million to private firm to replace DND workers

The Ottawa Citizen:

Just months after issuing notices to public servants that their jobs were being eliminated to save money the Defence Department is looking at paying a private firm $100 million to provide those same services, according to DND documents obtained by the Citizen.

The contract would cover management services, maintenance and repair and janitorial services for army installations in western Canada, including 10 training areas and 17 armouries.

But the proposed contract, to run from 2013 to 2018, has union leaders angry and accusing the Conservative government and DND of using the public service layoffs as a guise for privatizing more federal jobs.

“We were told that those jobs were not needed and those people wouldn’t be replaced,” said John MacLennan, national president of the Union of National Defence Employees, which represents 19,000 workers. “The government’s program was supposedly all about saving money so how do you save money when you cut jobs and then turn around and spend $100 million to hire companies to do the same work?”

The Conservative government’s plan will see the closure of the military support units in Chilliwack, BC and Calgary, according to the Sept. 6 briefing note prepared for Brig.-Gen. J.C.G. Juneau, commander of Land Force Western Area. But that will have a significant impact on the military installations those two locations support, the note pointed out.

“The closure of Area Support Unit (ASU) Chilliwack and ASU Calgary has severely limited the capability to sustain the infrastructure currently supported by those units,” Juneau was told.

The Chilliwack unit is responsible for 12 armouries, nine training areas, one cadet camp, one naval reserve and three other buildings. The Calgary unit is responsible for five armouries, one training area, one naval reserve, a cadet camp, a military museum and two other buildings.

Public service staff assigned to the Chilliwack and Calgary units, along with some contractors, are responsible for managing, maintaining, cleaning, and repairing the facilities.

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