MEDIA RELEASE: Cuts and Guts Do Not Mean Efficiency

For Immediate Release – November 23, 2016

Saskatoon – Members of Service Employees International West (SEIU-West) are gravely disappointed that their government has yet again misplaced their responsibility for fiscal management on the backs of our public sector workers within Saskatchewan.

“This government continues to gut the public services we rely upon by announcing further cuts to services we need and rely upon every day,” said Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West. “This punishes everyone in the province – you, me, our family, friends and our neighbours – the very people who make this province great.”

The government released the mid-year financial update which shows us that the revenue problem that we are facing in Saskatchewan is much worse than initially expected. This together with the poor fiscal management decisions, like the GTH land deal, program cuts and layoffs in the health sector, have shone an unflattering light on our government in the eyes of our members who work in the public sector.

“The care we are able to provide our patients, clients and residents will only suffer more if the government continues to try to save money on the backs of our health service providers,” continued Cape. “We receive reports on a regular basis about our members working short. We don’t want to see a catastrophe happen in our health care system. Yet now the strategy is to employ a hiring freeze and to avoid replacement of staff who are absent on vacation and other leaves. How can we deliver patient first care if there are no staff to provide it?”

Since it released its budget in June 2016, the provincial government has been implementing a ‘Transformational Change’ strategy in all government departments. Further, today we see the government continues to focus on controlling labour costs as a way to save money. Yet, according to the government’s mid-year budget report, the deficit is a result of low tax revenue and resource royalties.

“Our members are bearing the brunt of the decisions being made by our government and the privileged few who are making decisions,” added Cape. “We have ideas that will lead to solutions that will make our health system work better and more efficiently – talk to us.”

“It’s easy to govern in the economic boom times, the real test is how our government leads in the tough times. These cost-cutting measures are short-sighted and nickel-and-diming the most valuable public services”, continued Cape. “Of course income tax revenue is down, between an economic slump and hiring freezes in the public sector, there are no income taxes to be had. The loss of good jobs means that there is less tax revenue for our government to collect – they consistently shoot themselves in the foot.”

SEIU-West represents more than 13,000 working people in the province of Saskatchewan. They include members who work in health care, education, municipalities, community-based organizations, retirement homes and other sectors. They are joined by one colour – purple – and one union – SEIU-West. Purple works in our communities! Visit www.PurpleWorks.ca to find out more about the members of SEIU-West.

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For more information, contact:
Christine Miller, Communications Coordinator
Phone: 306-652-1011 ext. 8733

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