July 12, 2020

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Meagre hopes for outgoing workers

Only 10 permanent jobs open to employees of East Side Road Authority

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/9/2016 (1382 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The 80 people losing their jobs at the East Side Road Authority will be allowed to compete for 10 government jobs and 33 short-term positions as independent contractors.

They’ve been told by the province the 10 civil service jobs for which they can compete include six positions identified only as roads, three as environmental services and one as clerical.

There is also a wide range of 33 "transitional opportunities" to be independent contractors as the authority gets absorbed into Manitoba Infrastructure. Those contracts would end between March 31, 2017, and March 31, 2018.

Authority employees among the 80 who have been told they’ll lose their jobs Nov. 25 provided the Free Press with a series of internal communications to staff.

When Premier Brian Pallister said this spring he would dissolve the authority, internal communications initially said it would be integrated with Manitoba Infrastructure, which employees took as a sign they would keep their jobs.

Later communications in the summer made it clear the 80 employees are not classified as civil servants and that very few would get a shot at government jobs or permanent work.

On May 27, authority board chairman Robert Wavey told employees deputy infrastructure minister Lance Vigfusson would become acting executive director and wanted to hear their ideas for integrating the organization into the government department.

Three days later, Vigfusson told employees he was setting up management teams to "bring us together" and to combine the two organizations — the East Side Road Authority and Manitoba Infrastructure. "I look forward to building an even stronger team to deliver Manitoba’s infrastructure mandate. I know that the staff of ESRA and MI are essential to making it happen," he said.

On July 4, Vigfusson was still asking the employees for their input into integration.

By Aug. 18, Mike Knight had become acting director. He told the 80 employees they were not classified as civil servants and could not apply for internal openings for government jobs. By last Thursday, the 80 people found out how few permanent jobs they can compete for, and the list of 33 transitional opportunities for which they will be allowed to apply.

Vigfusson told the 80 employees Sept. 16 the province will find work for them through Nov. 25, when they will be let go without further compensation. If they choose to leave earlier, they’ll be required to give two weeks’ notice.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

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