Labrador Serco cuts will limit search and rescue, union warns

One of the unions at 5 Wing Goose Bay says staff at the weather office will be cut from six to two workers next spring.

Cutting weather forecasters will mean fewer people to provide weather briefings to SAR operations

A union representative at 5 Wing Goose Bay said a staff cut at the Serco weather office will limit the availability of search and rescue operations.

Bernie Bolger, local president for the Union of National Defence Employees, said the number of employees who provide weather observation services 24-hours a day will be cut from six to two in April.

"This will have an impact on the aviation here, and particularly search and rescue because the Department of National Defence won't allow search and rescue to fly without a briefer, and we will have no briefers after 5 p.m. in the evening," said Bolger.

Serco is a private company that provides services such as snow-clearing and food preparation on the base.

The cuts are expected to take effect April 1 but Bolger hopes political pressure can reverse the decision. He’s also concerned that more cuts are coming.

"I hope that somebody in the political world will certainly contact the union and sit down and have a chat and let us know what's going on. I mean, my concern is, will there be more?" said Bolger.

CBC asked The Department of National Defence and Serco for comment, but hadn’t received a response on Tuesday.