03/19/2012 08:20 EDT | Updated 05/19/2012 05:12 EDT

Payroll changes 'inhumane,' says MP

The federal government shouldn't be making changes to payroll services when many federal employees are at risk of losing their jobs, says P.E.I. MP Sean Casey.

Over the next few years, Public Works and Government Services Canada is consolidating employee pay services from across Canada to one location in Miramichi, N.B.

The centralized payroll system means a decline in workers from 1,750 down to 550, including a loss of 16 pay and benefits positions on P.E.I., said Casey.

Casey said he's worried federal employees will no longer have face-to-face payroll assistance.

"So, my concern is over the people that are losing their jobs as part of the downsizing at Veterans Affairs," Casey said.

"There's so much apprehension. At a time when there's so much upheaval in the lives of many of the civil servants here on Prince Edward Island, it just seems to me to be terribly, terribly inhumane to force them to have to work through all those details over the phone instead of with a person right here on the ground."

Casey said P.E.I. payroll employees whose jobs are being cut can apply for the openings in Miramichi.

The federal government said most of the cuts will be through attrition and turnover.

The changes to the payroll system are expected to take until 2015 to complete.