Disgraceful Federal Privatization of Public Services
Department of National Defence Fires Cleaning Staff at Moose Jaw Base
Using the corrupt practice of contracting out work to a global cartel, the Department of National Defence (DND) has exposed its anti-worker bias. By simply changing the contract company the DND has, without cause, fired eight cleaning staff at Canadian Forces Base, 15 Wing Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan.
“Everyone is very upset. When you’ve been with a company in the same location for 20 years, you become part of the community (and) you become part of the everyday workforce,” said Mona Simcoe, vice-president of the Manitoba/Saskatchewan region for the Union of National Defence Employees (UNDE).
Although working at a DND base, the eight workers were classified as employed by Aramark, a global cartel that traffics workers throughout the world in education, health care, business, prisons, and leisure. As a human trafficking cartel, Aramark supplies workers to companies as a cheap, vulnerable disposable productive force.
Aramark and other worker traffickers are parasites on the economy. They expropriate a portion of the new value workers produce, which otherwise would go to the workers themselves or to the companies where they are trafficked. The insecurity and flipping of contracts prevents workers from building any security and defending their claim on the value they produce. In this way, the price of workers’ capacity to work, the contracted price, is kept low for the company paying the traffickers, which is the attraction of buying the capacity to work of trafficked workers.
Within the situation, the Moose Jaw cleaning workers had managed to join the Union of National Defence Employees and improve their terms of employment somewhat. But this disappears with the flipping of the contract to another human trafficking company, in this case EnviroSafe Janitorial, which most probably is the motive of the DND in this case.
Mona Simcoe of UNDE reports that EnviroSafe will not hire any of the DND cleaning staff. The company is ardently anti-union and will traffic other workers to the DND cheaply with lower wages, no benefits, no sick leave or additional vacation time.
The UNDE and partner organization, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) – Prairies Division, say they knew the cleaning contract was up for tender, but both organizations were shocked the DND chose the lowest bid for a custodial contract that is “not for cleaning supplies or equipment but for people.”
Both UNDE and PSAC want the Department of National Defence to hire the workers in-house. “It is important to recognize these skilled workers ensured the environment was always clean and sanitized, allowing the Canadian Armed Forces to remain mission-ready, before and throughout the pandemic,” said June Winger, national president of UNDE. “They were an essential part of the national defence team at CFB Moose Jaw 15 Wing for more than 20 years and will be missed immensely.”
Marianne Hladun, regional executive vice-president of PSAC-Prairies said, “With great sadness, we bid farewell to this outstanding group of hardworking workers. I want to express our gratitude and thanks to these incredible workers who have gone above and beyond to provide unparalleled service.”
This must not be the end of the story. The working class must force an end to the corrupt practice of trafficking workers and flipping contracts. All companies over a certain size must hire all their workers directly and not through human traffickers.
Shame on the DND for such a blatant attack on these workers, which in effect is an attack on all working people. The eight cleaners should have the same wages, benefits and working conditions and security of employment as workers employed directly anywhere within the public service and represented by PSAC.
This attack on the workers in Moose Jaw is yet another example of how the imperialists treat workers as disposable, to be cast aside and replaced with cheaper versions using corrupt methods such as contracting out. The DND should be forced to rehire the workers as permanent public service workers with similar wages, working conditions and job security as those of others doing similar work.
Major corporations such as state institutions contracting with worker traffickers to drive down the price of workers’ capacity to work is a corrupt anti-worker travesty that must be stopped. Putting any worker in this insecure vulnerable position without rights so as to better exploit and attack them with impunity is wrong and must be stopped! Call or email the DND to demand it rehire the fired Moose Jaw workers immediately as public service employees.