HALIFAX, Aug. 26, 2015 /CNW/ - Workers at Bell Aliant are concerned at the increasing number of jobs being contracted out to workers in India as Bell Aliant adopts more of Bell Canada's outsourcing practices.
"There were public assurances by the company and by the government at the time of the Bell Canada acquisition that jobs in Atlantic Canada would be protected," said David Gates, chair of the Unifor Atlantic Communication Locals (Unifor ACL) and president of Unifor Local 2289. "Our members work / live and service customers in Atlantic Canada, seeing jobs move to India is very disconcerting. There's no one who provides the kind of committed, quality service like our workers here in Atlantic Canada."
On May 21, 2015, Bell Aliant management informed employees that in the fall of 2015 they would be contracting out part of the assignment centres' workload to Wipro, an India-based multinational corporation. The contracted-out assignment work will impact employees in all four assignment centres in Mount Pearl, NL, Charlottetown, PEI, Moncton, NB, and Kentville, NS. This has made workers very wary of how far this offshore outsourcing will go.
Reducing the local workforce through attrition or by out-sourcing jobs to India is not the commitment this company made to Bell Aliant workers or Atlantic Canadians when they acquired Bell Aliant last year.
"When this acquisition transpired last year, our members were understandably concerned about how committed Bell Canada would be to Atlantic Canada. Contracting out our members' work and not replacing workers when they retire does not build trust or confidence that good jobs will be maintained here in the Atlantic," said Rick Rose, Unifor National Representative. The company announced that it will outsource its building management across Atlantic Canada in February to SNC Lavalin, and in April notified that their St. John's, NL, warehouse operations will also be contracted out to Progistix Solutions Inc., once the existing Bell Aliant workers retire this year.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers, including 26,700 in telecommunications. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.