“I’m looking forward to my next opportunity to tell him how his cuts are affecting the public services that our frontline workers provide." — Michelle Gawornsky, MGEU President
Winnipeg (14 May 2019) — A new survey conducted recently by the Manitoba government shows that provincial employees are significantly less happy with their jobs than they were just 3 years ago. The 2018 Employee Engagement Survey was completed by more than half of the approximately 14,000 civil servants to whom it was distributed.
Frank comments about working environment
The most significant finding was that employees were about 16 percent less satisfied with their respective departments than they were in a similar survey from 2015. Only 38 percent were satisfied with their department in 2018 — a considerable drop from 54 percent in 2015.
Similarly, only 38 percent say they feel valued as a Manitoba government employee — a 12 percent drop from 3 years ago.
Some respondents also indicated that they were concerned with the lack of information being shared by senior leadership. One employee comment read, “…Overall greater transparency and trust from senior leadership would go a long way…," while another said, “Management needs to keep employees informed on what is happening with the department and the direction we are heading...”
Drop in confidence of senior government leadership
Compared to 2015, there was a 9 percent drop in confidence in senior departmental leadership, and 10 percent fewer employees said that they felt proud to tell people that they work for the Government of Manitoba (53 percent, down from 63 percent).
Premier Brian Pallister dismissed the lower numbers and said the drop in every category was due to higher participation rates, which he found “encouraging.” He did not seem at all concerned about the sharp drop in employee satisfaction since his government was elected.
Cuts affecting frontline workers and public services
However, Michelle Gawronsky, President of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE), wasn’t surprised with the poor reviews or the increase in participation.
“Employees have chosen to speak out in this anonymous survey because it’s the only way they can actually speak their mind and tell people where things are at in our public service," said Gawronsky. “I’m not surprised at all by the results. The only thing surprising is the fact that the Premier isn’t concerned by growing dissatisfaction among civil service employees. It reaffirms how out of touch he is with those who are working on the frontlines.”
Gawronsky pointed out that the government has already cut over 1,200 jobs from the civil service, causing many frontline workers to do double-duty and to take on increasingly onerous workloads. She managed to have a brief conversation with the Premier after he answered a few questions from the media about the survey results. He committed to meet with her in June, which would be only the second time he has agreed to meet with the MGEU’s leader.
“I’m looking forward to my next opportunity to tell him how his cuts are affecting the public services that our frontline workers provide,” she said.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 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