Coast Guard’s planned cuts slammed by union

The Canadian Auto Workers' Union (CAW) Local 2182 is blasting the federal government for planned cuts to Coast Guard centres.

 

The Canadian Auto Workers’ Union (CAW) Local 2182 is blasting the federal government for planned cuts to Coast Guard centres.

The Canadian Coast Guard intends next month to reduce the number of officers on watch most of the year at Marine Communications and Traffic Services centres. Although no one is losing their job per se, the union is concerned about mariner safety due to inadequate resources during emergencies.

Most centres, including the one in Comox, are manned by three staff members at any given hour.

“What they’re intending to do for a good portion of the year is reduce that down to two on watch at any given time,” CAW Local 2182 regional director Allan Hughes said Thursday. “When we get a day like today where it was beautiful, sunny and calm and now it’s blown up to 30 knots on the water, it doesn’t take long for a lot of incidents to occur.”

Incidents could involve a boater who has run out of gas or fallen overboard, or a vessel that has gone aground or sunk.

“That can happen any time of year, and if you don’t have enough people to handle the communications then you’re in a situation where you’re so busy dealing with one situation you don’t hear somebody else calling for help,” Hughes said. “We’re here to protect people and save lives.”

MCTS centres provide distress and safety communication, traffic services and weather information. Each year, the centre at Cape Lazo regulates 55,000 vessel movements through the Inside Passage, and handles more than 850 marine incidents.

A total of 17 people work at the Comox centre. Other B.C. centres are located in Vancouver, Victoria, Ucluelet and Prince Rupert.

Hughes said the job is complex, requiring training to keep up with changing technology. There’s also entitlements such as maternity leave. The union criticizes government for refusing to pay overtime while accepting the risk “through dollar reduction,” Hughes said.

“Our people work more hours of overtime than anybody else in the federal civil service, which is burning our people out. They’re (Ottawa) not willing to change the number of staff that we have to allow for those things (such as paternal leave). What they’re doing is reducing the number of people that are in the centre in any emergency that happens.”

The union is calling on the Coast Guard — an agency of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) — to reverse its decision.

Calls to DFO were not returned by press time.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cumberland looks at July for village hall meeting

Village council had to cancel meeting set for June 1 due to pandemic guidelines

Comox Valley board of education approves facility spending plan

Projects include roofing, sewage system upgrade, gym resurfacing

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

Valley artist gifts B.C.’s health officer with symbolic hummingbird

A special connection brought the piece to Dr. Bonnie Henry’s desk in Victoria

Black Lives Matter events planned for Courtenay

Peaceful gatherings are scheduled for Simms Park Friday and Saturday

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Most Read