I would like to provide clarification regarding the letter entitled ‘Fair treatment for all workers' printed in The Guardian on Nov.15, 2012.
The provincial government laid off close to 500 seasonal workers in the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal's Highway Maintenance Summer Program in March 2012. The workers were divided into two work crews, each working 14 week schedules - for a total of 28 weeks. The government then rehired roughly half of those laid off and assigned them to a 20-week schedule. So in total, the province provided eight weeks less highway maintenance service this year and eliminated roughly half of its regular workforce in the process.
In regard to the question of fairness, I agree with the writer of ‘Fair treatment for all workers' to the extent that some workers ended up without a job, and some workers ended up getting 20 weeks as opposed to their original 14 weeks. The union believes that the Civil Service Act and Regulations should be changed to improve hiring practices for seasonal and casual government workers and to better protect them within the collective agreement.
In regard to the workers in question who have been laid off, and those who returned to work, it is important to remember that they keep our transportation routes in good repair so that all Islanders can travel safely to and from their daily destinations, and so that business can effectively transport goods and deliver services. Without them, we are all seriously compromised. They are valued and important contributors to our society.
P.E.I. Union of Public Sector Employees