Layoffs loom at Power Corp
Nunavut split could cost jobs in Hay River
Hay River (Mar 27/00) - The Nunavut Government's decision to form its own power corporation will cause layoffs at the Hay River head office.
The downsizing is inevitable, but the number of jobs lost will not be known until Nunavut awards a tender for a service contract, said Derek Aindow, director of personnel for the Power Corp.
"We're in the running for the systems management contract over there, but the Nunavut Government has not yet made a decision on the contract," Aindow said.
"If it's decided by the Nunavut Government that we are not going to be providing them with any services after April 1, 2001, we will be required to downsize."
Even with the service contract, Aindow said there will be staffing cuts.
"We are very much hoping to get the systems contract with the Nunavut Government, although we will still end up decreasing staff to some degree eventually," Aindow said. "We will have some time yet before we decide to go about doing that."
The 76 employees at the head office will not know their future until a review is conducted.
"We don't know the numbers yet, we're just starting an organizational review of our operation and the effect that will have on it," Aindow said.
A shuffling of posts will buy the Power Corp. some time before any cuts to permanent jobs takes place, he added.
"We have been aware this might be happening for some time now, so we've been filling jobs on a temporary basis or holding positions vacant in order to minimize impact on permanent staff," he said. "If we get the Nunavut service contract, that's going to allow us to spread this impact out over a few years," he said.
Any cuts will not be made for at least a year, Aindow added.
"It will be business as usual until April 1, 2001," he said.
Union of Northern Workers President, Georgina Rolt-Kaiser had no definite information on future layoffs.
"I'm not prepared to comment on that," Rolt-Kaiser said. "I have not been told that and usually when things like that happen, we are given a heads-up on it.
"The information I have is, that they are doing the best of their ability and they have stated quite clearly that they hope to keep as many jobs as they can," she added. "I have no numbers, I don't know what will happen -- we'll have to wait until 2001."
Further adding to the Power Corp's woes is the decision of Fort Simpson to tender out its power supplier.
Mayor Norm Prevost has said the Power Corp. was off the short list for potential suppliers, but has now given NTPC a second chance to sharpen their pencils.
Power Corp. chairman Gord Stewart said NTPC is still in the race for the Simpson contract.
"Yes, we are very much still in the running and they haven't made any decisions to the contrary and we are still providing power," Stewart said.
"It's my intention to meet with the mayor within the next little while."
Mayor Prevost was unavailable for comment at press time.