Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Communication Workers union raises alarm over Coast Guard communications

A power failure last week at the Prince Rupert Coast Guard Communication centre is providing for a bit of ammunition for the union that represents communication workers in British Columbia.

Unifor Local 2182 which represents Coast Guard communication workers across the nation has launched an information campaign to try and reverse the Government's plans of consolidation of services.

Towards that campaign, they are making a fair amount of mileage out of the thirty minute power disruption of April 21st, which saw the Prince Rupert Communication Centre unable to transmit or receive calls for thirty minutes in the early hours of the day.

Coast Guard station hit by blackout, raising concerns about closings
Post-its help hold Prince Rupert MCTS together

The topic of the Prince Rupert power outage was the subject of a lengthy overview from Global BC last week, as a Unifor representative outlined the unions concerns over the issue of station closures.

Providing a bit more background to its message that the closure of similar communication stations on Vancouver Island is leaving mariners at risk.

As we outlined in February on the blog, the Coast Guard announced its plans to close stations at Vancouver, Tofino/Uclulet and Comox both on Vancouver Island, making the Prince Rupert station responsible for the largest swath of coverage along the Pacific coast.

Towards that responsibility the Prince Rupert station has been outfitted with new technology which
The Prince Rupert Coast
Guard station recently had
a 30 minute power failure,
spurring concerns over coverage
the Coast Guard says allows for the monitoring of larger areas of coverage.

The concerns over the Marine Communications shift has also been tied into the planned closures of other Coast guard facilities in the province.

Towards that issue Unifor has announced plans for a May 6th protest rally to speak out against the planned closure of the Kitsilano station.

The union has also launched an online petition campaign, with a direct link to the Prime Minister's office to deliver the opposition to the Government's plans for the Coast Guard.

Some of the previous concerns related to both issues can be reviewed below:

Business in Vancouver -- Marine Communications closure amps up Vancouver port safety concerns
Comox Valley Record -- Federal Candidates voice concern on Coast Guard Centre Closures
Victoria News -- Coast Guard hysteria sinks lower
Victoria News -- NDP introduces motion to reverse Coast Guard cuts
CBC-- Consolidation of Coast Guard Broadcast centres in final stages
CBC -- 3 Canadian Coast Guard communication centres closing in B. C.
North Shore News -- West Vancouver beaches remain closed after oil spill
Global BC-- Cuts to communication centres along B. C. coast (video)

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