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One Sault job affected by Ontera deal, says union

Tuesday, July 08, 2014   by: Jeff Turl

A bombshell at Ontera today.

Workers were told that 40 jobs will be cut over the next two years from the telecommunications division of Ontario Northland, according to USW Local 1976.

The cuts will come following completion of the sale to Bell Aliant in early August.

That number doesn't include managerial and clerical staff that will be affected by a smaller unionized workforce.

Here's the job loss breakdown by city:

  • North Bay 18
  • Timmins 7
  • Cochrane 6
  • New Liskeard 7
  • Sudbury 1
  • Sault. Ste, Marie 1

Ron Marleau, District 6 VP of the Steelworkers and an Ontera technician, said  “This is  devastating news for our membership as well as the region we serve. The reduction of almost 50% of our unionized workforce will impact every community where our employees live throughout North-eastern Ontario.”

Marleau added,” The negative economic effects of 40 high-tech, well-paying jobs leaving the North was totally preventable. The Ministry should have given serious consideration to the joint business plan put forward by the union and management of Ontera, as part of the ONTC’s Labour/Management business plan requested by Premier Wynne back in February.”

“It is clear to us that Minister Gravelle was never interested in real solutions, and that the bureaucrats at MNDM (Ministry of Northern Development and Mines) had pre-determined the outcome for Ontera from the start”, said Marleau.

“At the April 4th meeting in North Bay where Minister Gravelle announced the sale of Ontera to Bell Aliant, even after being advised by the unions that his decision would create a telecommunications monopoly in North-eastern Ontario and result in considerable job losses affecting the entire region, Gravelle told us it was his decision to make and it had been made.” 

Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli told Village Media, "I'm at a loss to understand why the government is proceeding with this fire sale, when they know it will cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars."

"It's our understanding the cost to sell Ontera is between 50 and 70 million."

Village Media is seeking additional reaction to the announcement and will update this story ASAP.

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