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Public Services provide ‘a better path forward’ – MGEU submits provincial budget priorities
Feb 15, 2023
Today, MGEU President, Kyle Ross provided the union's 2023 Pre-Budget Submission to Manitoba's new Finance Minister, which calls on the government to make urgently needed public service investments in the upcoming provincial budget.
About 30,000 MGEU members work every day to provide the services that ensure Manitoba remains a great place to live, work, and grow. However, Ross says the government has let its employees and all Manitobans down by underfunding, cutting, and privatizing the province’s public services.
“From health care to highways, education to environmental protection – no service has been spared by this government’s austerity agenda. Nearly one of every five jobs in the Civil Service has been eliminated over the past decade, while our province’s population continues to grow. That’s had a direct impact on our members – who are telling us their department can’t fill vacant positions fast enough, who say they’re working excessive overtime, or they’re burned out.”
Vacancy rates reach critical levels in Civil Service
Recently released government documents show vacancy rates in many government departments are hovering dangerously between 20 and 30 percent, while the Department of Health saw the largest number of vacant positions grow to a staggering 42% in 2022.
The union’s pre-budget submission says that this staffing crisis must be met with a sustained and aggressive recruitment and retention strategy to rebuild the provincial Civil Service.
The document also calls on the government to protect public health care, restore education funding, increase wages and resources for those who care for Manitoba’s most vulnerable, and put an end to contracting out jobs to the private sector in Crown corporations.
At the same time, Ross is calling on the government to stop providing tax cuts the province can’t afford, which only serve to further erode public services. Federal transfers to Manitoba are at an all-time high. Yet, rather than use that funding to make critical investments in provincial services, the Stefanson government has chosen to make short-sighted tax cuts, which are estimated at over one billion dollars per year since 2016 in foregone tax revenue that could have been used to address funding shortfalls in all service areas.
“Instead of handing out big rebate checks to large corporations and high-income earners, Manitobans want to see our public schools, hospitals, and roads properly funded. The government has an opportunity to change course in this next budget. Will they finally listen to the priorities of Manitobans, or will they continue down the same risky path they’ve been marching on since 2016?”