R&F’s Labour News Update: Jan. 12, 2015

From R&F.ca, in case you missed them!


canadaline-vancouverBudget ‘on track’ as negotiations with federal unions enter critical stage
Jan. 11, 2015
The Globe and Mail

Treasury Board President Tony Clement says negotiations with federal unions are entering a “very critical” round as both sides prepare to meet against a backdrop of falling oil prices, a looming election and Conservative promises of a balanced budget.

Ottawa’s labour negotiations are shaping up to be a key file to watch early in the new year and the Minister says he’s pushing for a deal that is good for public servants and Ottawa’s bottom line.

Hospital cuts attack on front line staff – CUPE

Jan. 11, 2015

The Canadian Union of Public Employees are calling the latest round of cuts at the North Bay Regional Health Centre a hard hit on front-line staff.

For the last two years the hospital has issued staff layoff notices.

This time the unions say the cuts are deep.

The hospital issued a media release Friday indicating 75 positions are being reduced in this latest round of cost-saving measures – 26 of those positions are currently vacant.

“I’m blown away this time,” said Shawn Shank, president of CUPE Local 139. “I didn’t think the number of cuts would be this high especially to nursing positions.”

The hospital slashed 34 jobs in June and eliminated another 40 nursing jobs in April 2013.

Proposed Murray River mine to rely primarily on foreign workers

Jan. 9, 2015
The Globe and Mail

If the proposed Murray River coal project goes ahead, more than half of its employees would be temporary foreign workers in 2018 – potentially the first year of operation – and it would take nearly a decade for all the hourly jobs at the project to be filled by Canadians.

HD Mining has previously discussed its plan to shift from a work force that is mostly foreign to one that is mostly domestic, saying in 2013 the mine would have a “full Canadian work force” after 10 years of production.

Health Centre Cutting 75 Jobs

Jan. 9, 2015

The North Bay Regional Health Centre has cut another 75 jobs as part of an ongoing effort to cut costs and restructure services.

The health centre announced Friday it is closing eight mental health beds and eliminating 55 full-time positions and 20 part-time positions.

The move is part of a three-year process, which involves the planned closure of 59 beds and other measures, aimed at achieving $30-million in savings in order to meet 2016’s anticipated funding levels.

The facility is now in the second year of that process and has so far cut nearly 100 jobs, including 25 non-union positions, and closed 36 beds.

Canada Line workers say OK to a strike

BCGEU members who work on Metro Vancouver rapid transit system have voted 99% in favour of job action
Jan. 8, 2015
CBC News

In a nearly unanimous vote,150 Canada Line workers have made it clear they’re ready to strike, if necessary, for a new collective agreement with their employer.

“The strength of the strike vote reflects the commitment of our members to negotiate a fair and reasonable collective agreement,” said BCGEU treasurer Paul Finch.

The workers include station attendants, line attendants, control room operators and administration staff.

Mediation in the dispute is scheduled to begin on Jan. 19.

Layoff notices coming to 175 workers at Grande Cache Coal

Jan. 7, 2015
CBC News

Grande Cache Coal is laying off 175 employees as of Feb. 3.

Greg Cox, the superintendent of human resources, said the company is temporarily idling the surface mine due to market conditions and the falling price of metallurgical coal.

Controlling interest in the mine was sold to Chinese company Up Energy Development Group for just $2 in October 2014.

Cox said the layoffs aren’t related to the sale.

Formal layoff notices will be handed out in the next couple of weeks. The mine employs 440 people.

Gary Taje, representative for the United Mine Workers, said as many as 250 people could be laid off. He said the impact on Grande Cache will be tremendous.

Protest violent assault on Chinese labour rights defenders!

Jan.7, 2015

On December 26, unidentified assailants entered the office of the Panyu Migrant Workers Documentation Centre (PMWDC) in Guangzhou and assaulted PMWCD head Zeng Feiyang. PMWCD has been providing legal and other services to migrant workers in the Pearl River Delta since 1998. The assault is the latest in an escalating series of attacks against independent organizations across China advising workers on their legal and workplace rights. CLICK HERE TO SEND A PROTEST MESSAGE TO THE CHINESE AUTHORITIES

Council to consider privatized garbage pickup in the east endMayor John Tory now says issue needs further study
Jan. 6, 2015
CBC News

City council will look at privatizing garbage on Toronto’s east side, thanks to a request by Coun. Jaye Robinson and an about-face by Mayor John Tory.

Robinson on Tuesday called for a study of garbage collection east of Yonge Street. The report is due back in April.

Garbage west of Yonge Street has for years been collected by the private company Green for Life, a move that was frequently claimed as a victory for the city under former mayor Rob Ford.

During the election, Ford vowed to privatize the rest of the city.

Tory also promised while campaigning to privatize collection on the east side — saying the issue had been studied thoroughly enough.

After banner fiscal results, Air Canada set to begin talks with Unifor
Jan. 4, 2015
The Globe and Mail

As Air Canada basks in the glow of a record financial performance, one of its largest unions will seek to make up some ground its members lost more than a decade ago when the airline was in bankruptcy protection.

Negotiations will begin Jan. 26 between Air Canada and Unifor, which represents about 4,000 ticket agents, gate agents, customer-service representatives and call-centre employees across the country.

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