03/03/2015 08:18 EST | Updated 05/03/2015 05:59 EDT

Nova Scotia union opposes 58 seasonal job cuts at parks, visitor centres

HALIFAX - Nova Scotia's largest public sector union is speaking out against budget cuts in the province's tourism sector.

The government announced Friday it is closing visitor information centres in Digby and Pictou and switching pay stations at seven provincial parks to self-service, resulting in layoffs for 58 seasonal workers.

The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union says the cuts unfairly target rural communities that depend on the jobs.

Union president Joan Jessome says the word of mouth information provided by the employees can't be replaced by machines or the Internet.

Tourism Department officials say the cuts, part of a government cost-cutting program review, will save more than $1 million a year by 2016.

The department says visits to tourist information centres dropped by almost 40 per cent over the last decade as people use online information to plan trips.