HomeNewsIsland & CoastLack of IMP Aerospace workers to impact Canadians’ safety: PSAC

Lack of IMP Aerospace workers to impact Canadians’ safety: PSAC

A declining number of workers at IMP Aerospace in the Comox Valley could cause problems for safety, especially when it comes to search and rescue operations.

That’s from the Public Service Alliance of Canada and UNDE Local 21018, whose members are picketing outside 19 Wing Comox today to protest the situation.

IMP Aerospace has been the In-Service Support provider for the Department of National Defence for over 20 years. They keep the Cormorant search and rescue helicopters at 19 Wing in mission-ready condition.

However, UNDE members are protesting as low wages have caused more than half of its 50 employees to move on to other opportunities. This means less than 20 workers remain to work on the helicopters, and they say IMP started forcing workers from other parts of the country to leave their families and work in Comox to fill vacancies.

“Normally they have about 30-something technicians, they’re down to 14 technicians right now. That has to impact the capabilities of the search and rescue service,” said UNDE national president June Winger.

- Advertisement -

“Without a doubt, the number one cause of these issues is underpaying their staff. The staff are walking from one hangar right into the next hangar and getting more than $10/hr pay increase doing identical work just on a different aircraft with a different contractor.”

UNDE acting local president Grant Golem adds that people are feeling the pressure and leaving. He adds there will be “a point when they’re not going to be able to meet their contractual obligations.”

Members are currently in bargaining negotiations with IMP where staffing shortages, recruitment, and fair wages that keep up with the cost of living are key issues.

Winger adds that while things are still running, it may only be a matter of time before it fails.

“Then it’s too late. Either somebody didn’t get a response to their call for search and rescue or there’s going to be an issue with the aircraft with our people already in it,” said Winger.

“That could be risking cab members, risking the IMP employees and that could be risking whoever they are also trying to rescue. That’s the really difficult piece to it.”

Winger says they are hoping National Defence will see an issue before it becomes catastrophic, and make sure IMP man their operations with enough staff.

- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -
- Advertisement -

Continue Reading