'There is absolutely no justification for government slashing jobs in the public service when the net result will be a loss in vital services.' - Bob Bymoen.
Regina (26 March 2010) - The Saskatchewan government's plan to cut the public service by 15% over the next four years is a short-sighted measure that will put public safety at risk, says the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union (SGEU/NUPGE).
"The government's intention - to cut jobs by 4% every year for four years by not filling vacancies due to retirements - is ill-conceived, unworkable and unsustainable," says SGEU president Bob Bymoen.
"It will mean gutting programs and services that Saskatchewan families and communities rely on. Our members are front line workers, snow plow operators, child protection workers, firefighters, and safety inspectors. The loss of those jobs can and will put families at risk," Bymoen says.
"An effective public service is the result of thoughtful planning, not one subject to random and unanticipated job losses."
Bymoen says job cuts erode programs and services and the process has already begun.
In total, 178 positions have already been eliminated in a wide range of government ministries. Of those positions, 38 are currently staffed and 140 are vacant.
Thirteen positions have been cut from the ministry of social services, despite widespread acknowledgement that staff are overworked and struggle every day to meet the safety needs of children in care.
Other job losses include 18 positions in advanced education, employment and labour; six positions in First Nations and Metis relations; 14 in education; four in Justice and seven in tourism, parks, culture and sport.
"SGEU offers its full support to employees who will be displaced as a result of these job cuts," Bymoen says. "We will be there to assist our members through the bumping process, to minimize the stress and to make the transitions as smooth as possible."
Bymoen says the Saskatchewan economy grew last year, despite government miscalculations on potash revenue, and there is reason to believe that resource royalties will rebound. A growing economy needs a strong public service to meet the needs of families and communities, he argues.
"There is absolutely no justification for government slashing jobs in the public service when the net result will be a loss in vital services to the people of Saskatchewan," he says.
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