Latest in a series of austerity measures announced by the new Conservative government.
Fredericton (9 Dec. 2010) - The New Brunswick Conservative government of Premier David Alward is asking public employees to take voluntary unpaid leave between Christmas and New Year's to help the province with its financial problems.
Finance Minister Blaine Higgs says the request has been extended to government workers who are employed in non-essential services.
The move is the latest in a series of austerity measures ushered in by the newly-elected Tory government to deal with a projected $820-million provincial deficit. Higgs has already instructed departments to trim budgets by 1% this year and to prepare for a 2% reduction next year.
The government has also reduced the unconditional grants to municipalities by 1% and school districts have been asked to curtail spending as well.
"We've asked for a voluntary program that would look at the period of time between Christmas and New Year's," he said, emphasizing that it is "a voluntary program."
Higgs could not say how many have responded nor could he estimate how much money might be saved.
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