Author Topic: Defence department cutting 350 more jobs, one third in Ottawa  (Read 1693 times)

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Defence department cutting 350 more jobs, one third in Ottawa

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By DAVID PUGLIESE, The Ottawa Citizen June 27, 2012 6:59 PM

OTTAWA — The Defence Department is cutting 350 more jobs with a little more than a third of those cuts coming in Ottawa, union officials have been told.

The Union of National Defence Employees has been advised that the jobs of 303 of its members will be eliminated or affected by cost-cutting measures. That is on top of the 1,100 already targeted, and the union expects DND to send out more notices to employees by the end of the year.

But union chief John MacLennan said the process has slid into total confusion, since in some cases DND has now gone back to employees who were given notice their jobs were in jeopardy and has reversed that decision.

He pointed out DND told the union in April that the jobs of 19 dental hygienists were to be eliminated. But that has now been reversed after someone in the department discovered the move would cost more in the long run in dental bills if DND cut the jobs of hygienists who are dealing with military personnel, MacLennan said.

Asked why it reversed its position on the hygienists, DND responded by email that “A number of DND/CF activities were examined as part of the government-wide savings review, however, no Public Service dental hygienists employed by the CF are affected as part of the implementation of this review.”

MacLennan said the emailed response suggesting dental hygienists were never targeted for cuts is further evidence that some parts of the department don’t even realize the extent of the job reductions and how it will affect the military and DND.

“They clearly don’t understand what jobs are being cut,” said MacLennan, national president of the union which represents 19,000 workers. “If these managers were running a private company it would be bankrupt.”

UNDE has asked DND several times for a solid number on actual layoffs but has not received an answer, he added.

In the March budget, the government said 19,200 public service jobs would be eliminated as part of its drive to save $5.2 billion annually by 2015.

Federal departments have already sent out “affected” notices to more than 18,200 employees. Those declared affected are put on notice that the work they do will be affected by cuts and they could lose their job.

The DND jobs affected in the notices sent out Wednesday include those of administrative officers, financial analysts, cleaners, clerks, range staff, radiation safety staff, drivers, and electrical tradespeople.

One hundred and twenty-seven of the positions are in Ottawa.

Another 47 DND jobs held by members of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada will also be cut.

DND did not comment.

An earlier round of DND job cuts hit clerks, secretaries, food services and kitchen staff, radiation safety personnel, weapons technicians, ammunition technicians and heavy truck mechanics.

Also to be eliminated are the jobs of 242 defence scientists and researchers. That came just months after Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Walter Natynczyk credited them with saving the lives of soldiers in Afghanistan.

The unions say the job cuts fly in the face of assurances by the Conservative government that only “back-office operations” not affecting front-line services would be hit by the budget cuts.

Other departments issuing notices Wednesday included Transport Canada, Infrastructure Canada, Fisheries and Oceans, Justice Canada, Environment Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada, Industry Canada and Human Resources and Social Development Canada, Correctional Services of Canada and Canada School of the Public Service.

Among those heaviest hit this time around is the Canada Revenue Agency. Notices will be going to 400 auditors in the areas of criminal investigations, special enforcement and voluntary disclosure programs.

MacLennan said senior DND managers have also not provided any reasoning for why particular jobs were targeted or how much will be saved.

But he noted that DND is targeting some of the lowest-paid workers in the public service such as cleaners, secretaries and those in food services.
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