"We have a provincial government fixated on cutting and privatizing public services and now they might replace the Civil Service Act? What does that mean for public services. such as water testing, highway improvements, or crime protection to name a few?” — Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President
Winnipeg (22 Nov. 2018) — On November 20, the Pallister government unveiled its speech from the throne. Often referred to as a provincial blueprint, it’s a chance for government to lay out its priorities and direction for the year ahead. This recent speech contained concerning language around advancing transformation of public services with a new Public Service Act.
Conservative government in Manitoba sows more uncertainty
“All Manitobans should be a little uneasy with this announcement today,” said Michelle Gawronsky, President of the Manitoba Government and General Employees Union (MGEU/NUPGE). “We have a provincial government fixated on cutting and privatizing public services and now they might replace the Civil Service Act? What does that mean for public services. such as water testing, highway improvements, or crime protection to name a few?”
The government set a goal of cutting 1,200 jobs in the civil service by spring 2019, and it met that in October of this year. This has forced MGEU/NUPGE members to do more with less and take on increased workloads.
The throne speech also says this new legislation “will foster alignment beyond core government departments and across our public service. In addition to enhanced oversight, it will incorporate greater flexibility to support innovation, renewal and engagement, ensuring our public service continues to attract diverse, skilled professionals.”
With a new Public Service Act, public services could be at risk
“This government is not afraid to hack and slash programs and services. It is in the middle of privatizing Pineland Forest Nursery and Government Air Services,” Gawronsky said. “It’s a huge concern for government to tinker with this legislation. They obviously have a plan, and they should be sharing it with Manitobans. Our public services are at stake.”
The current civil service collective agreement expires March 29, 2019. The agreement will remain in effect until a new one is negotiated and ratified. The special “no-lay-off” clause will end on March, 29, 2019.
“This gives us real cause for concern. We purposely negotiated that no-lay-off clause and with talk of a new act and more transformation, our members need answers from this government on what the future holds,” said Gawronsky.
The MGEU/NUPGE represents approximately 12,000 members in the civil service.
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