Sudbury·Updated

Uncertain ONTC future results in North Bay layoffs: union

The union that represents workers at the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission says 10 people have been laid off.

General Chairperson's Association spokesperson worries there will be more layoffs in the new year

Uncertainty over the future of the ONTC has made it difficult to land new contracts, a union official says.

The union that represents workers at the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission says 10 people have been laid off.

The positions are in the North Bay unit that refurbishes trains and buses.

Brian Kelly, who is with the General Chairperson's Association that represents the workers, said uncertainty over the future of the ONTC has made it difficult to land new refurbishment contracts.

"We figured this was going to happen sooner or later and our fear is it is just going to continue as we move forward. There is no need for it."

Kelly said he worries there will be more layoffs in the new year.

ONTC continues to seek out new contracts for the refurbishment unit, spokesperson Rebecca McGlynn said.

"Right at this time there is not enough refurbishment work to sustain the current number of employees in that division," she said.

"We are actively pursuing other re-manufacturing contracts, but there is nothing to announce at this time."

The laid off workers will be re-hired if future work warrants, McGlynn added.

The job cuts come after two years of uncertainty for the ONTC. Earlier this year, the province changed its mind on a plan to divest the transportation commission. 

However, it is still moving ahead with the sale of Ontera, the telecommunications arm. Bell Aliant is expected to complete its purchase of Ontera on Oct. 1.

Bell Aliant has announced it plans to cut the workforce at Ontera nearly in half when it takes over.

Bell Aliant purchased Ontera from the ONTC for $6 million in cash and an estimated $10 million in future revenue.

The province is also providing half of a $30 million dollar investment by Bell Aliant in telecommunications infrastructure in northern Ontario.

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