Public Values

Saskatchewan budget cuts 178 jobs across the board

Public service cuts will total 15 per cent over next four years despite growth in economy.

The provincial government's plan to cut the public service by 15 per cent over the next four years is a short-sighted measure that will put public safety at risk, according to the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union (SGEU).

"The government's intention, announced in today's budget, to cut jobs by four per cent every year for four years, by not filling vacancies due to retirements, is ill-conceived, unworkable and unsustainable," said SGEU President Bob Bymoen.

"It will mean gutting programs and services that Saskatchewan families and communities rely on. Our members are front line workers, snow plow operators, child protection workers, firefighters, and safety inspectors. The loss of those jobs can and will put families at risk," said Bymoen.

"An effective public service is the result of thoughtful planning, not one subject to random and unanticipated job losses," he added.

Job cuts announced in today's provincial budget begin the erosion of programs and services.

In total, 178 positions have been eliminated in a wide range of government ministries. Of those positions, 38 are currently staffed and 140 are vacant.

Thirteen positions have been cut from the Ministry of Social Services, despite widespread acknowledgment that staff are overworked and struggle every day to meet the safety needs of children in care.

Other job losses include: 18 positions in Advanced Education, Employment and Labour; six positions in First Nations and Metis Relations; fourteen in Education; four in Justice; and, seven in Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport.

"SGEU offers its full support to employees who will be displaced as a result of these job cuts. We will be there to assist our members through the bumping process, to minimize the stress and to make the transitions as smooth as possible," said Bymoen.

The Saskatchewan economy grew last year, and despite government miscalculations on potash revenue, there is reason to believe that resource royalties will rebound. A growing economy needs a strong public service to meet the needs of families and communities, according to Bymoen.

"There is absolutely no justification for government slashing jobs in the public service when the net result will be a loss in vital services to the people of Saskatchewan," concluded Bymoen.

Posted: March 24, 2010

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