High-voltage worker buyout at Manitoba Hydro

WINNIPEG — Effective next Monday, Manitoba Hydro will start offering buyouts to its employees as a first step toward cutting 15 per cent of its workforce to help reduce debt.

A statement released today by the Crown utility says most of the company’s employees will be eligible for what it calls a voluntary departure program, which will be available for six weeks.

The company slashed the ranks of its vice-presidents by 30 per cent in February and is making another 15 per cent cut after a further review of its senior management structure.

The statement says Hydro is committed to reducing its workforce by around 900 positions, as well as pursuing other means to strengthen its financial performance.

Hydro expects to file an application early next month with the province’s Public Utilities Board for a rate increase after a warning in recent months that consumers could see double-digit hikes on their bills.

The Crown is facing billions of dollars worth of debt flowing, in part, from its Bipole III power line project and construction of the Keeyask generating station.

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