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January 19, 2010

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More privatization at UVic?

VICTORIA—Warnings surfaced a few days ago about yet another privatization attempt at UVic. Following last fall’s proposal to contract out child care services to big box corporation Kids & Co., the university has floated a request for proposals for audio visual, production and rigging services.

While it appears that the proposal may have been withdrawn in the wake of objections from affected staff and their unions who were not consulted prior to the proposal, CUPE 951 president Doug Sprenger is concerned about a pattern of seeking to contract out services that are key to the quality of life and learning at UVic. “We successfully fought off privatization of child care and you can bet we will fight for other university services and jobs.”

The university currently has a group of highly skilled workers who provide ongoing technical services to faculty and students and support university events. The classroom experience increasingly relies on high quality audio visual support and quick responses to malfunctioning equipment. And communities – both on and off campus – have come to rely on great public events whether they are cultural, sports or educational.

“Why was UVic seeking to privatize the services provided by its own high quality on-campus staff?” asks Sprenger. CUPE has asked for a meeting with university representatives to investigate the proposal. In the meantime, CUPE members will continue to be vigilant in guarding the high quality services offered at UVic. It’s time for UVic to value its employees and stop looking for ways to replace our jobs and damage public services.


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