Sunday, March 29, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, March 27, 2009

The customer is watching (and reporting) at a local bank, Paramedics put negotiations on the critical list and the Civic Centre begs to differ with trade show organizers, a few of the Friday items of note in the Daily News...

INNOVATIVE PROJECT PROVIDES FEEDBACK TO LOCAL BANK-- Employees of the TD Canada Trust branch at the Rupert Square were given their report cards of sorts last week as the Business Administration Program in conjunction with the Customer Service Manager at the bank outlined the details of a "secret shopper" style evaluation of the branch services.

Students from the NWCC program dropped in on the branch and observed the state of customer service during a specific time period. They then compiled their reports for the bank and then discussed their findings and impression of the banking sector in the classroom. No details of the level of service and their findings were released to the Daily News for our review however.

The government of BC and the province's paramedics and ambulance workers seem to be on a collision course as the latest contract offer from the province has not been met with a warm reception by the membership.

At the heart of the dispute is the bid by paramedics to be paid on par with police and fire department employees, a level of remuneration that Health Minister George Abbot suggests isn't about to happen. The status of part time and on call para medics has also been a contentious issue especially in the rural areas, and those issues also have not found much in the way of common ground during the current negotiation phase.

Over the weekend, the paramedics and ambulance workers announced that they had given the government 72 hour strike notice, a move which will see the ambulance service moving supervisory personnel into key areas of operation, in order to keep the ambulance fleet operating at required levels of service. In the event of a strike, ambulances will be designated as an essential service, making for an ineteresting labour management scenario we would imagine.

Paramedics will be in a legal strike position on Wednesday.

The recent cancellation of the Prince Rupert Trade show seems to have shown some cracks in the past alliance between Trade Show organizers and the Civic Centre. This years show was scheduled to be held at chances convention centre, prior to its cancellation due to a lack of exhibitor commitments. At the time the impression that seems to have been made, was that the Civic Centre had priced itself out of the running, a notion that the City's director of of recreation and community services, Michael Curnes took exception to.

Friday's paper outlined his disappointment in the way that the Civic Centre had been portrayed in a recent Daily news article about the cancellation. Mr. Curnes suggested that the Trade show organizers could not have used the Civic Centre cost as a reason for relocation, as there had been no firm commitment of cost made for the show.

The Daily News had outlined that trade show organizer Mike Slubowski was unhappy with the increased cost of the event at the Civic Centre. The discrepancy seems to revolve around percentages with the City suggesting that the cost had been increased by 5 %, while Friday's paper quotes Mr. Slubowski as saying that the Civic Centre rate had doubled from that of two years ago.

Curnes expressed his disappointment in the loss of business for the Civic Centre and countered that they too had lost revenue, as they had to reschedule events for the now cancelled show.

Local track and filed once again was the main topic of the sports page, with a feature on local training for the upcoming high school track season.

Total pages in Friday's paper (20)

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