Rob Ford spoils hundreds of city workers’ holidays with plans for massive layoffs

Rob Ford spoils hundreds of city workers’ holidays with plans for massive layoffs

(Image: Christopher Drost)

Mayor Rob Ford’s casual disdain for city workers is no secret—in September he referred to them collectively as “gravy”—and if city hall approves the proposed 2012 budget, he’ll be laying off nearly 1,200 in the New Year. The news comes amid a slew of stories regarding Ford’s cost-cutting mission, and like many of the mayor’s recent claims, his rhetoric on the issue doesn’t appear to match reality.

The National Post breaks down the numbers:

On Wednesday, the city released a breakdown of the layoffs, some of which have already occurred. They include 714 positions in various city departments, 666 of which are unionized. Another 152 public library jobs will be cut, and 324 TTC workers, which are a mix of union and non-union positions. The city is also deleting 1,148 positions that are either vacant or will be vacated due to a buyout package, the majority of which are also unionized. If approved, the civil service will shrink by a total of 2,336 positions. Deferring the hiring of 68 firefighters, 36 paramedics and 353 positions in the police service is among the cuts.

We already noted that Ford’s claims that the city is over-staffed are somewhat dubious, but there are other reasons layoffs seem hasty. Of course, we also remember Ford’s campaign mantra that there would be “no need for layoffs” in order to balance the city’s books. And these are obviously some serious layoffs. But what’s sure to add insult to injury for the municipal employees without a job in 2012 is that the city is committed to putting a $139-million surplus in a “rainy day” fund. Naturally, Ford will maintain that the public workforce is bloated and needs to be trimmed—but for those workers, that rainy day is now. Which is all to suggest the layoffs may be motivated more by Ford’s own ideology than the city’s finances.

City laying off almost 1,200 workers [Toronto Star]
• City to issue up to 1,190 pink slips, most of them to unionized staff [Globe and Mail]
Toronto planning to shed 600 unionized jobs; TTC, library, fire and police among cuts [National Post]