NBUPPE says New Brunswick politicians will damage essential services if they try to finance election promises by cutting public sector jobs.
Fredericton (23 Sept. 2010) - The New Brunswick Union of Public and Private Employees (NBUPPE/NUPGE) says the province will suffer if political parties resort to public service cuts to finance the election promises they have been making to voters.
Tom Mann, the union's executive director, says ordinary citizens who rely on essential services will be the ones who suffer most directly if this is the outcome of the provincial election on Sept. 27.
"Are we going to cut back on the number of people that make our highways safe?" Mann asks. "Are we going to cut back on the number of diagnostic technicians in hospitals? Are we going to cut back on the number of teachers in schools?"
Mann says speculation about public sector cuts are a reaction to government deficits that cannot be blamed on workers.
"Public employees haven't caused the deficit. The deficit has been caused by decisions made by government to bail out private industry like Caisse Populaire in Shippagan," he notes.
As of Dec. 31, there were 48,743 permanent and temporary public employees in New Brunswick, about one quarter located in Fredericton and the rest in communities across the province.
"For the last 20 years, civil service cuts have been the mantra of the politicians, but the reality is the public service continues to grow because the citizens demand the services," he adds.
The New Brunswick public service is currently in the second year of a two-year wage freeze. There is also a hiring freeze. This is occurring even though 50% of all provincial public employees will be eligible to retire in the next 10 years.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE