Energy & Power
Transmission & Distribution
Manitoba Hydro commences temporary layoff notices today
By Anthony Capkun
June 5, 2020 – “As I have said previously, this was absolutely not our preferred course of action,” said Jay Grewal, president & CEO of Manitoba Hydro. “We worked extremely hard to avoid getting to this point. Unfortunately, we have no more flexibility.”
“It’s time for us to stand up for safe, reliable public energy,” said Mike Espenell, business manager, IBEW Local 2034, back in May. “These mass job cuts will put Hydro in a dangerous position. We are working full-tilt and using safe practices during the pandemic. We are doing our part, coming to work every day. This pandemic could be a lot worse to handle if Manitobans in care, at home, at work and in industry have to wait longer for service because of Pallister’s reckless cuts.”
Citing an inability to agree on ways to meet labour-cost reductions needed to support the province’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the utility will begin issuing temporary layoff notices today to members of two of its unions—IBEW and UNIFOR—“in accordance with the current collective bargaining agreements”.
Approximately 200 staff will be temporarily laid off for a period of four months.
Discussions are continuing with CUPE, says Manitoba Hydro, with further information expected next week. In addition, the corporation did arrive at an agreement in principle with the Association of Manitoba Hydro Staff and Supervisory Employees (AMHSSE) to achieve savings in that group without layoffs.
Members of AMHSSE, the Manitoba Hydro Professional Engineers’ Association (†) and Corporate Exempt staff will take three unpaid days off in lieu of layoffs in their areas. These groups will see their paycheques reduced by roughly 1.2 hours per pay period, commencing June 25 until the end of this fiscal year, 31 March 2021.
“We will make all efforts to minimize the impact of these temporary layoffs on service to customers, while maintaining the safety of our system and employees in every aspect of our operations,” said Grewal.
The first layoffs are expected to commence in the next two to three weeks.