For immediate release – December 29, 2016
Saskatoon –In year-end media interviews Premier Brad Wall suggested that he is contemplating public sector layoffs and wage rollbacks to deal with his government’s billion dollar budget deficit. He also called on provider unions to show “good will” and “good faith” about this possibility.
SEIU-West, one of Saskatchewan’s largest health care provider unions, is deeply troubled by our Premier’s remarks. They show a lack of good faith, and deflect responsibility for the province’s financial state away from where it belongs: on the Premier and his government.
“Our members were not the people who benefitted from the economic boom,” said Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West. “Now Mr. Wall is making them pay for his government’s mismanagement.”
“Our members work on the front lines in health and education, in some of the most run-down and chronically understaffed facilities in the province. They have coped with costly lean management experiments and ongoing demands to do more with less. They’ve been hit hard by the rising cost of living. They didn’t get double-digit pay increases that were given to doctors and registered nurses.”
Cape added, “The Premier says that ‘everything is on the table’ when it comes to reducing the deficit. Does this include subsidies and tax loopholes that mainly benefit corporations? Public services and the workers who provide them are at least as valuable to Saskatchewan as the oil and gas companies the Premier is always championing. If we saw evidence that he truly cared about our members and the daily struggles they face, there might be some room for meaningful dialogue.”
“Our Premier still has a lot of work to do to earn the goodwill and good faith of our members,” Cape continued. “For a start, be fully transparent and accountable about his ‘transformational change’ agenda, instead of making vague and careless ‘musings’ about it in the media.”
“Threats and austerity measures don’t work for the economy – they cripple it. We need to invest in our public health and education systems and give our staff the resources they need to do their jobs well.”
SEIU-West represents more than 13,000 working people in the province of Saskatchewan. They 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. They want you to know that purple works in our community! Visit www.purpleworks.ca to find out more about the members of SEIU-West who work for the people of Saskatchewan.
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For more information, contact:
Karman Kawchuk, Research Officer
306-652-1011 ext. 2232
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