As 130 Toronto Hydro workers decided to accept a voluntary exit package, others rallied Monday to insist on no layoffs at the utility.
Canadian Union of Public Employees Local One, which represents Toronto Hydro workers, called for the no-layoff policy as the company struggles to trim $20 million in costs.
The company says the cuts have been triggered by an Ontario Energy Board decision that limited its spending on modernizing its system.
Toronto Hydro offered voluntary exit packages to 460 workers, and says that 130 accepted the offer last week. Previously, the company had axed almost 60 executive and management-level jobs. It has also terminated the contracts of private companies working on Toronto Hydro’s system.
The management job cuts and the voluntary exits will bring the total staff reduction to almost 200, said John Camilleri, who heads CUPE Local One. That alone should bring the company close to $20 million in annual savings, he said.
While layoffs will be a last resort, it’s likely to be late summer before the company can assess the full effect of cuts and efficiencies now in the works, said Toronto Hydro’s Tanya Bruckmueller.
Camilleri told demonstrators that cuts are raising questions about whether there will be enough staff left to do the work. “There’s no shortage of work. In fact, there’s a growing backlog of maintenance work to be done,” he said.