The Manitoba Government Employees Union is raising concerns after it says nine Manitoba Lifeflight employees they no longer have jobs as of Thursday.

The union said in a release Wednesday the employees who were laid off are a mix of pilots and maintenance staff based in Thompson and Winnipeg.

The union is concerned about who will provide air ambulance service and whether it will remain safe and reliable.

Manitoba NDP leader Wab Kinew is critical of the government’s timing.

“Today is the day that we see the impact of the government privatizing. But it's happening during this blackout period that we're in and the government isn't answering questions about the impact it's going to have on the people losing their jobs and what's going to happen to the health care service Lifeflight provides,” he said.

The government didn’t say how many people had been let go, but said efforts are being made to help the affected employees find other jobs.

In a statement to CTV News, the province said unforseen challenges earlier this month caused it to replace its jets with private air service carriers.

Flight operations will be contracted with another provider Friday.