Plans to contract out cleaning services to private companies at Canadian Forces Bases (CFB) in Greenwood and Kingston have been shelved and the Department of National Defense (DND) has committed to creating a new process for future reviews. Union of National Defence Employees (UNDE) National President June Winger and PSAC Regional Executive Vice-Presidents Colleen Coffey (Atlantic) and Sharon DeSousa (Ontario) were pleased to learn this morning that the workers who clean on those bases will not be losing their jobs.
“We are glad to see that the government is living up to its commitment to public service workers following a major anti-privatization campaign by PSAC” said June Winger. “These are good jobs with a pension and benefits that allow workers to contribute to their communities and provide stability for their families. It is also important to note that our military personnel and others who live and work on those bases will continue to receive the high-quality service they deserve”.
PSAC-UNDE launched a campaign this summer to stop job losses on both bases. Meetings with members of Parliament, a letter-writing campaign, postcards to community members, information pickets and advertising all contributed to ensuring that our message was heard and these jobs were saved.
Workers at CFB Greenwood were facing unemployment as of next week, with their work being contracted out to a private, for profit company. “The evidence is clear” said PSAC Atlantic REVP Colleen Coffey, who herself worked at CFB Greenwood. “Contracting out does not save any money and does not result in improved service to the base. It really is a shell-game of moving expenses around on a balance sheet, with no regard for the people or the service.”
CFB Kingston workers were also facing an uncertain future. “Our workers in Kingston now have some assurance that they can plan for a stable future” said PSAC Ontario REVP Sharon DeSousa. “Contracting out just adds to the growing insecurity and precarious work in our communities, while using tax dollars to pay for corporate profits.”
“We secured this victory through dialogue with DND, through public pressure and through political action” said Winger. “UNDE and PSAC will continue to fight for good public service jobs and oppose privatization that leads to higher costs for taxpayers. We encourage management to include UNDE representation in the planning process for CFB facilities maintenance. If we’ve learned one thing from the errors made with the Phoenix pay system, it’s that those making the decisions need to listen to those providing the service.”