Manitoba Hydro laying off hundreds of employees in $11M cost-saving measure

Hundreds of Manitoba Hydro employees will be receiving pink slips starting this week to help with cost-saving measures during the coronavirus pandemic.

About 600 to 700 employees will be temporarily laid off for the next four months, Manitoba Hydro confirmed Monday.

“As requested by the province, Manitoba Hydro has been reviewing its operations to find cost and labour savings to help support the government’s fight against COVID-19,” Hydro spokesperson Bruce Owen said in an email statement to Global News.

“All layoffs will follow the provisions of the collective agreements with Manitoba Hydro’s bargaining units.”

Hydro employees received a memo from president and CEO Jay Grewal that said the Crown corporation had hoped to avoid layoffs but had no other choice.

“We’ve been able to find over $63 million of the needed cost reductions. Another $12 million in savings was realized by, where ever, possible not filling vacant or seasonal positions,” the memo read.

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“Regrettably, this achievement still leaves us about $11 million, or 13 per cent, short of the finish line.”

“Hydro itself has said more layoffs would put the safety of workers, Manitobans and the services they rely on at risk—something we can’t afford in the middle of a pandemic,” he said.

“But rather than invest in services and protect jobs, the Premier ordered the biggest single-day budget cut in Manitoba’s history.”

Global News has reached out to the province for comment.

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