Manitoba Hydro Meltdown

Manitoba Hydro to shrink workforce by roughly 900 positions

Crown corporation cuts will follow immediate 30% reduction in executive team, management restructuring

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Manitoba Hydro will cut 900 positions across the province and will increase rates by at least 10 per cent, the Crown corporation announced Friday.

The utility, which employs about 6,200 people, plans to offer voluntary buyouts starting later this spring. The reduction amounts to a 15 per cent cut to Hydro’s total workforce.

“We care about our employees, so we’re going to work and try to make this as smooth and as fair as we can,” said Kelvin Shepherd, CEO and president of Manitoba Hydro. “I think our voluntary program will get some good results.”

Starting immediately, the number of executive positions will be reduced by 30 per cent. Three vice-presidents have already been let go, Shepherd said.

The hands-on workers

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Cuts to staff are necessary to protect the financial integrity of Manitoba Hydro, the chair of the Manitoba Hydro-Electric Board, Sandy Riley, said in a written statement.

Reducing costs will not only bolster Hydro’s financial future but can help protect Manitoba from future credit downgrades, he said.

Hydro’s debt was reported at $13 billion in October. Over the next three to four years, company debt could rise to $25 billion.

Some of the workers are getting out anyway they can.

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CEO Kevin Shepherd and the Manitoba Hydro board said cost reductions at the utility will not be enough to restore the Crown corporation’s fiscal outlook.

It is also planning “double-digit annual rate increases” for at least five years in order to re-establish “proper financial footing,” Riley said.

It is all so unreal!

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