The Gordon Campbell government has taken the unusual step of cutting 40 per cent of BC's seasonal parks rangers at the start of the busy summer season, the BC Government and Service Employees' Union said today. The cuts follow a government pledge to take measures to limit public service cuts following the introduction of the 2009 budget.
"It makes no sense to cut back on tourism-related jobs at the very time when their services are most needed," said BCGEU president Darryl Walker. "During this economic downturn, we should maintain services that attract visitors to our province, not cutting services. Many of these workers have served the public faithfully for decades, and deserve much better treatment from this government.
"These jobs are important to provide employment in small communities, especially during an economic downturn. Families and local businesses rely on the income from these jobs to fuel rural economies."
According to government sources, the Ministry of Environment employed 145 parks auxiliaries last year. The ministry plans to bring back 87 seasonal park rangers in 2009, which represents a 40 cut of the provincial workforce. Auxiliary workers have no right to recall or placement in alternative positions in the public service.
"The Campbell government pledged to limit job cuts to the public service through voluntary measures like a shortened work week," said Walker. "This move by the Environment Ministry contradicts that approach, and I'm concerned about what this may foreshadow for other parts of the public service after the election."