BY UTAMU BELLEOver 200 workers under the Community Infrastructure Improvement Project (CIIP) in Linden have been issued termination letters, to facilitate the rehiring of about 50 less workers under a “superior contract”.This newspaper understands that approximately 300 persons from both Wismar and Mackenzie, Linden were initially on the programme, however under the superior contract which is expected to take shape sometime next month, only 250 would be hired. This has created some amount of disagreement by some workers, who are at odds with the decision.Speaking on the issue, Linden Town Clerk Jenella Bowen explained that the programme which is conducted through the municipality of the Linden Mayor and Town Council (LM&TC) has undergone some restructuring, based on agreement with the Ministry of Communities.Region 10 Chairman Renis Morian“There were several discussions between the Ministry of Communities and the CIIP project. PS (Permanent Secretary) is aware and all the other players from the ministry, as it relates to this project. A decision was made where we would have 250 persons working instead of 300 persons…we would have started with Mackenzie, having termination contracts for the persons on Mackenzie. So what happens is that the entire CIIP programme will be restructured based on the Council’s agreement. Everyone will be terminated and then people will be rehired. There were 300 persons on, but now we have to bring that figure down to 250”, the Town Clerk indicated.She added that the decision was based on an agreement with the Ministry of Communities, which was embraced by the Council.Bowen further stated that some workers had agreed to uplift their termination letters and that all were terminated to facilitate the rehiring process in both “fairness and justice”. The workers, she noted, were given a one month notice of their termination.Bowen said workers under the programme will continue working 4 hours per day, for 16 days in this month for the usual payment of $12,500. However, come September 5, when the re-established work process commences, the work time will be 8 hours per day, for eight days and the payment increased to $25,000. NIS would also be deducted, according to Bowen.Linden Town Clerk Jenella Bowen“So instead of working 16 days it is 8 days, 8 hours a day…I think that the system can work. I think that it’s for the betterment of the community. I will embrace it. Many of the persons from what I know are single parents. Many of them mothers, and for that I am grateful…and I know the Council will also embrace the project”, the town clerk said.Regional Chairman wants letters rescindedMeanwhile, Region 10 (Upper Demerara- Berbice) Chairman Renis Morian has called for the letters of termination to be rescinded, since he noted it has created a lot of uncertainty and uneasiness among the workers who depend on the project for a living. He said the decision was not made in “fairness” and proper consultation should have been made to prepare the workers for the changes to come.“You have people in Region 10 who are unemployed, who are doing the CIIP work. So you have a contract that for whatever reason, you’re pulling this contract because it is alleged that you have framed a superior contract. You’re pulling this contract now and there’s a long uncertainty period. I’m saying, pull back the letters. When you’re ready with your new contracts, call the people…I’m saying to the Minister of Communities and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communities that those letters should be withdrawn…you don’t just pull a contract and leave a man hanging in the air and you know a man was earning…it has to be discussed with them and they agree…”, Morian stated.The regional chairman said he hopes that good sense will prevail regarding the issue. He recently stated that he was given all assurance by the minister that this will be done.
Along with being remembered for his compassion, integrity, and dedication to his work, family, and friends, Jim was known for his sense of humour.Advertisement Jim is survived by Marty, his wife of 51 years, son Wade, daughter Nicole, grandchildren, and extended family. “We are all deeply saddened at Jim’s passing. He was instrumental in shaping higher education in the North,” said M. Bryn Kulmatycki, current president and chief executive officer of Northern Lights College. “He will long be remembered for his unwavering commitment to NLC and the educational needs of northern British Columbians.” A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, November 30, at 10 am in the Centre for Clean Energy Technologies at NLC’s Dawson Creek campus. – Advertisement -Kassen started his 25-year tenure as president of NLC in 1980. During his time he grew the College from a single campus in Dawson Creek, with three storefront operations in Chetwynd, Fort Nelson, and Fort St. John, and just a few hundred students, to eight campuses and access centres across the upper third of British Columbia. Jim retired from NLC in 2005. In 2007, the College opened the Jim Kassen Industry Training Centre at the Fort St. John campus in his honour. DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – Jim Kassen, former president of Northern Lights College, passed away on November 19, 2019. To make a contribution, call 250-787-6240 or email email@example.com.Advertisement Under his leadership, the College entered into a formal arrangement with the University of Northern British Columbia in 1992. Jim awarded NLC’s first honorary degree to renowned opera singer Ben Heppner in 1994. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Jim Kassen Legacy Award, administered by the Northern Lights College Foundation.