“It makes no sense to reduce work days for staff who are very busy delivering important public services. It is even more absurd to impose layoffs or work reductions on permanent employees with mortgages to pay, and families to support while hiring summer students.” — Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President
Winnipeg (14 May 2020) — On behalf of hard-working members at the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC), the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE) is challenging Premier Pallister’s comments today that layoffs there are justified because there is “not enough work for everyone.”
Premier's statement doesn't match facts
“I don’t know where the Premier gets his facts, but the reality is our members at MASC are as busy as ever; in fact, MASC is currently looking to fill positions for agricultural adjustors, and hiring summer students to help out,” said Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President. “Our farmers are facing unprecedented challenges right now, and need these services more than ever. This is our bread and butter.”
MASC recently notified the union of up to 40 layoffs in the unit where workers administer a broad range of risk management, and financing options to support Manitoba’s farmers.
Shortly afterward, employer representatives told the MGEU/NUPGE that about a dozen lay-offs were certain and that, in order to minimize further layoffs, MASC workers in the administration unit would also be required to take 35 unpaid days off in the current year.
“This amounts to a fifteen per cent pay cut,” said Gawronsky, “and our members were given a very short time to decide whether or not to agree to this.”
Cuts threaten safety of food supply
In a letter to the group, Jared Munro, President and CEO, told affected workers that MASC has been required by the government to reduce workforce expenses by 20 percent, as part of its effort to cut spending during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gawronsky sent her own letter to the Minister of Agriculture and Resource Development yesterday, calling on the government to reverse this arbitrary and reckless cut.
“It makes no sense to reduce work days for staff who are very busy delivering important public services,” Gawronsky said. “It is even more absurd to impose layoffs or work reductions on permanent employees with mortgages to pay, and families to support while hiring summer students.”
The MGEU/NUPGE is also investigating other means to address these issues, including utilizing the grievance procedure.
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