NBUPPE says New Brunswickers will feel the impact in lost services.
Fredericton (15 March 2009) - Public sector unions say the New Brunswick government will slash 700 jobs in Tuesday's provincial budget and that services to people and the economy in general will suffer as a result.
Representatives of the six unions were in Fredericton over the weekend to discuss budget details they learned during a meeting last week with Premier Shawn Graham and the ministers of finance and human resources.
Tom Mann, executive director of the New Brunswick Union of Public and Private Employees (NBUPPE/NUPGE), says 300 positions now vacant or occupied by people soon to retire will not be filled. Another 400 employees will be laid-off. None will be offered early retirement packages, he added.
"The impact of 700 jobs — positions — being affected should ring loud and clear to New Brunswickers. That's 700 people who are currently in positions providing services to them," Mann said.
Earlier, Human Resources Minister Rick Brewer indicated that a two-year wage freeze will be announced in the budget. However, existing contracts will be honoured, he added.
Mann said the unions will still be able to use the collective bargaining process and they will work with government to minimize the impact on employees. "We have the right and the responsibility to negotiate fair contracts to ensure that those services are preserved," he said.
The budget is expected to include a deficit of up to $800 million.
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