August 5, 2015

Privatization isn’t the answer to the problems afflicting Saskatchewan’s correctional centres, says the president of SGEU. “The Wall government should get out of the kitchens. The only things they will cook is the books,” says SGEU President Bob Bymoen, of the provincial government’s plans to have a private company to do the kitchen work now done by SGEU members at the province’s correctional centres.

Bymoen says that privatizing kitchen services will not save money for the taxpayers of the province. He points to Alberta and British Columbia, where Compass Group, the company contracted to provide the same service here, has contracts to provide food services. “In both provinces, the cost per inmate is much higher than is the current situation in Saskatchewan.

Instead of having Compass Group provide the kitchen services currently done by members, Bymoen says the Province should take firm action to address the serious issues that are causing problems in our correctional centres and youth facilities. He points to recent incidents at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre as examples of the results of overcrowding, short staffing and sub-standard infrastructure in the centres. “There is a widespread problem in all of our provincial correctional centres, largely due to overcrowding and lack of staff, and employees have had concerns about the possibility of serious injuries.

This will only get worse unless the root problems are addressed. And, those problems aren’t in the kitchens,” Bymoen says. “The staff at the provincial correctional centres are dedicated professionals doing a great job in the face of often difficult circumstances,” Bymoen adds. “Out-sourcing kitchen work will not save Saskatchewan taxpayers any money, but will actually end up costing more in the long-run,” he says.

Editors and News Directors note: SGEU President Bob Bymoen will be available to the media at 2:00 today (August 5) at SGEU Head Office, 1011 Devonshire Dr. N. in Regina.

For more information, contact: Carol Todd SGEU Communication 306.775.7877

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