Will employees be the ones to pay for Manitoba's fleet vehicle cut?

The Manitoba government is eliminating 400 vehicles from its government fleet, claiming it will save approximately $2.3 million in operating costs per year.

Winnipeg (01 Nov. 2018) — The Manitoba government announced that it will be eliminating 400 vehicles from its fleet. Rochelle Squires, Sustainable Development minister, claims that the cut will save approximately $2.3 million in operating costs and avoid up to 4,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year.

No announcement of infrastructure to help workers reduce emissions

The move could save money. However, Michelle Gawronsky, President of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE), is worried that the savings will come at the employees’ expense.

“The announcement doesn’t say how the government will save. But we’re fearful that it will be by downloading the financial responsibility of operating a vehicle to deliver services onto the backs of workers,” says Gawronsky.

The Minister says that employees will be encouraged to reduce their travel to meetings and instead rely on video and conference calls whenever possible. The Minister’s statement did not provide any details about whether the government will make any investments in video conferencing as a result of cutting its vehicle fleet.

“How does the Minister know they will save 4,000 tonnes of emissions when employees will still have to use a vehicle? The reason many of our members use a government vehicle is because you can’t do things like a fire inspection via Skype. I have many questions to ask the Minister on this decision, and I will be requesting a meeting to talk about the announcement,” said Gawronsky.

“In the coming weeks and months, we’ll continue to monitor this issue and find out from our members if they are once again being asked to do more with less or being forced to pay out of their own pocket to provide a public service," she said. 

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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