They do their part to ensure Ontario’s roads remain as safe as possible, yet struggle for job security.
In their second week on strike, dozens of driver examiners from across Ontario, office workers and their supporters held a noon rally in front of Premier Dalton McGuinty’s office Tuesday to fight for job security and to have their seniority recognized.
In 2003, the provincial government privatized the work for driver examiners.
Represented by United Steelworkers, driver examiners and office staff, who are employed by SERCO, have been in negotiations over their collective agreement and after several months of bargaining, moved into a strike position, said David Lipton, a staff representative with United Steelworkers.
“This is a serious issue to the public and public safety,” said Lipton. “The public needs to be concerned about the need to retain qualified people. The government was the one that set the rules and if they choose to contract it out, they need to be responsible.”
The provincewide strike affects students applying for their first licences, senior drivers looking to pass mandatory tests, and heavy truck drivers requiring recertification, said Lipton.
In addition to job security and seniority issues, there is also no minimum number of hours that part-time employees can work in a week, yet they are expected to be on call, said Lipton. “The company is attempting to maximize profit without regard for the stability of work.”
A driver examiner based out of Ottawa, Ilona Al-Khafajy is a part-time employee working full-time hours – with none of the security or the benefits.
“This is a government service we provide and it needs to be respected,” she said.
Driving examiners Alvin Malcolm and Chrissy McCallum drove in from Kingston to show their support, as well as Ottawa and District Labour Council president Sean McKenny, who attended “to show that the broader labour movement stands beside them.”
“These people aren’t asking for a lot,” said supporter Ric Dagenais. “They do a necessary job and getting people licensed. They’re making our community safer. Job security is a reasonable thing to ask for.”