© Bonnie Learning photo
Uncertainty looms at the weather office at 5 Wing Goose Bay, as the union was informed there would be job losses of four staff members.
Impending cuts to the 5 Wing weather station will negatively impact Ground Search and Rescue in Labrador and could cost lives.
That’s according to Bernie Bolger, president of Local 90125.
The news comes of the job cuts comes just days after Serco and DND signed a two-year extension to the current service contract.
“The union was informed there would be a reduction in the new two-year extension contract,” said Bolger
Bolger said the Base service provider, Serco, was informed yesterday that four of six jobs will be chopped at the weather office at 5 Wing.
“From what we understand, the weather office will be scaled back to two employees, with a Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. schedule,” said Bolger, this afternoon, just minutes before heading into a meeting with town officials to discuss the matter.
“This will have a negative impact on Ground Search and Rescue (GSR), the community and Labrador as a whole.”
Bolger explained GSR cannot operate without up-to-date weather briefings.
“This essentially means that GSR will not be able to operate after 5 p.m. weekdays and not at all on weekends.”
Bolger said other cuts include reductions in aircraft resting systems and Precision Approach Radar.
“This is just the start of the federal government getting rid of 5 Wing Goose Bay,” said Bolger.
Bolger stated union officials are setting up meetings with politicians ASAP to try to get the decision reversed.
Stan Oliver, the deputy mayor of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, said council was shocked to learn off the cuts.
“Of course, we hate to see anyone in the community lose their jobs, as that’s always a bad thing,” he said.
“But to expect to operate Ground Search and Rescue operations under those timelines? It doesn’t make sense.”
Oliver agrees with Bolger that this is part of a bigger plan by the federal government to not come across with their promises to 5 Wing and the Town.
“They promised us back in 2006-2007 that they would find an operational requirement for 5 Wing Goose Bay, and today, we are still waiting for that plan,” he said.
“This is just another strategy by the federal government not to come through with their commitments to the council and this town.”
Oliver said whatever development happens in Labrador can come and go, but the base is here to stay.
“The base has been here since 1942 and we want to keep it,” he said.