Re: City of Kelowna decision to contract out jail guards

May 15, 2003

Mayor Walter Gray
and City of Kelowna councillors,
1435 Water Street ,
Kelowna, B.C. V1Y 1J4

The North Okanagan Labour Council believes that the City's recent decision to contract out both full-time and relief male and female City of Kelowna employees is short sighted.

Replacing experienced staff that have given the City of Kelowna from six months to over twenty years of service shows the City does not understand the connection between a stable well paid work force and a strong local economy.

With the recent loss of the Western Star employees along with most of the Telus staff, this City needs to do more to retain a well-paid labour force. Small businesses in this community rely on a well-paid work force for their existence.

If the City believes that the small amount of money stated to be saved by hiring lower paid and limited experienced people will create a saving, it is mistaken. The lower wage along with high stress job will result in a higher turnover of guards that will lead to higher costs in the future.

It is our understanding that the Provincial Government and the District of Lake Country share the current jail costs with Kelowna. If it is because of provincial funding cutbacks that the city is making this misguided effort to save money, then the city should oppose provincial downloading more vigorously and reject the notion of layoffs and reductions as an answer to provincial funding cuts.

David Doran,
North Okanagan Labour Council


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