'There are ways the government can save money within the government system but it's not by cutting public services.' - Tom Mann.
Fredericton (14 Oct. 2010) - The New Brunswick Union of Public and Private Employees (NBUPPE/NUPGE) is cautioning the province's new Conservative government against attacking public employees and public services valued by provincial residents.
Tom Mann, NBUPPE's executive director, says public servants are used to being in the cross-hairs of new and eager cost-cutters. But despite repeated pledges by many politicians to reduce the size of government, the public sector continues to grow because citizens need and want public services.
"Where are New Brunswickers willing to forgo a public service?" Mann asks. "Are we going to have larger classroom sizes? Are we going to have longer waits for health care or are we going to reduce the number of social workers who are in child protection? There are ways the government can save money within the government system but it's not by cutting public services."
The number of full-time and part-time public employees has been climbing annually in the province - from 45,139 in 2005 to somewhere around 50,000 now, Mann notes.
David Alward, the province's new premier, says he will reduce the size of the public service through attrition and an early retirement program. He has not been specific about how many positions would be cut.
Mann says "attrition" is just a kinder, gentler word for reducing services.
Observers are wondering how the Alward government will meet its election promises and balance the books without raising taxes. The province has an estimated debt of $8.4 billion and a current annual deficit of about $750 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
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