The Yukon government should hand over more control to private sector, according to the treasurer of the Yukon Chamber of Commerce — and that’s why it supports the Liberals’ plan to reorganize Queen’s Printer and shutter Central Stores.
“It’s not debatable that the public sector in the Yukon is rather large,” said Philip Fitzgerald, adding that downsizing, in this case, is a positive.
“Everybody deserves some certainty, some advanced warning where possible, but I think the government needs to focus on cutting both the number of employees it has, its largest expense, and thinking about how to do things more efficiently and effectively.”
Restructuring at Queen’s Printer, which prints government forms and documents, including some sensitive paperwork, and the closing of Central Stores was announced almost two weeks ago. It’s surfaced in the legislative assembly since.
Seventeen workers are to be impacted, reportedly.
Richard Mostyn, minister of the Department of Highways and Public Works, has said the changes would save $1.6 million per year.
He’s called the services at Queen’s Printer “archaic” and “virtually obsolete.”
In a written statement cabinet’s director of communications Sunny Patch said the changeovers would amount to $618,000 in salary savings.
There’s also $600,000 in improved procurement services and $454,000 related to a warehouse that won’t be used anymore, Patch said.
It’s unclear to the chamber how the Liberals arrived at the $1.6 million figure.
“We don’t understand how there can be savings they’re talking about when they’re going to redeploy all of the existing workers,” Fitzgerald said. “We’re just asking for clarification.”
Mostyn has repeatedly said there will be no layoffs in the legislative assembly, that workers are being reassigned within the department.
He said a small cadre of employees will continue to be tasked with printing certain materials.
The president of the Yukon Employees’ Union (YEU) threatened possible legal action against the government over the matter last week.
The YEU claimed on social media that Mostyn is bending to the will of the chamber.
Fitzgerald said the chamber wasn’t party to any discussions leading up to the decision.
“I can categorically state that we had not had any conversations with Mostyn about Queen’s Printer and these changes,” he said.
Contact Julien Gignac at email@example.com