New Brunswick

Shediac loses 150 federal jobs

The federal government's plan to trim the public service is spreading to New Brunswick as more than 150 contract positions are being cut at its office in Shediac, according to a union official.

The federal government's plan to trim the public service is spreading to New Brunswick as more than 150 term positions are being cut at its office in Shediac, according to a union official.

Jeannie Baldwin, the Atlantic executive vice-president with the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the union that represents the term workers, said she found out about the looming cuts a couple of days ago.

"When you look at 150 employees, their salary, they bring in revenue about $7 million to $8 million in that community," Baldwin said.

"Economically this is devastating for the community and for the workers."

Baldwin said the employees affected earn between $40,000 and $50,000 a year.

Baldwin said some of the employees who are being cut have been working at the Public Service Pension Centre, a branch of Public Works and Government Services Canada, for more than two years and would soon have become permanent employees.

Shanny Doucet, the local union vice president, said 118 jobs will be cut on Aug. 23, with the remaining 30 to 35 jobs eliminated this fall.

"From the past you know you were told if you start working for the federal government your job is pretty much secure even though you have the term position," said Doucet.

"Obviously the time has changed and people were in shock."

The federal government said in a statement the workers were hired over the past two years to modernize and centralize the service and they knew those jobs were temporary.

The department said no permanent employees are affected.

The federal government is looking to the public service as one way of trimming its deficit. The government is looking for $4 billion in cuts, or about five per cent of its total budget, in order to balance the budget by 2014.

The federal government is aiming to make up some of those costs by not replacing the estimated 11,000 public servants who leave their jobs annually.

Treasury Board President Tony Clement warned in June that more federal public service layoffs were likely.