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Blood services rebuilding, cutting jobs

Canadian Blood Services has good and bad news for the HRM: A newfacility will be built in Dartmouth, but 28 people in Halifax will losetheir jobs.

Canadian Blood Services has good and bad news for the HRM: A new facility will be built in Dartmouth, but 28 people in Halifax will lose their jobs.

First the good news: The blood donation agency is currently buying land in Burnside to build a 53,000 square-foot production and logistics facility. It’s due to open by late 2011 and it’s part of a $38 million investment in Atlantic Canadian facilities.

“This is the facility where we’ll take the donations people have given us at our various clinics and we break those units of blood into three components: Plasma, platelets and red cells,” said Ian Mumford, chief operating officer.

But a similar production facility in Saint John, N.B. will be shut down, moving or cutting 17 full-time jobs.

“The jobs move, the question will be what the individuals do who are in those jobs,” Mumford said.

The bad news for workers in the HRM is Canadian Blood Services will be moving its blood testing operation in Halifax to Toronto. Twenty-eight jobs here —mostly lab technicians and assistants — will be eliminated.

The agency tests samples from each unit of blood for viruses, Mumford explained. The testing is currently done in Halifax, Toronto and Calgary.

“We’re going to have to invest in new technology and new equipment for donor testing, and it makes more sense to only have to buy that equipment for two sites as opposed to three,” he said.

The announcement this week was followed by another from the National Union of Public and General Employees union: A provincially-appointed conciliator has been called in to help with stalled contract talks.

The union said the issues for its Nova Scotia members include hours of work, rest periods, as well as vacation entitlement and retirement allowance.

Mumford said negotiations often reach this conciliation stage. “We’re still optimistic we’ll come to an agreement as we often do.”

 
 
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