Minister Apologizes for Questioning Workers’ “Loyalty”
Blaine Pedersen, Manitoba’s Minister of Growth, Enterprise, and Trade, issued an apology yesterday for saying the high rate of unfilled jobs in his department is due to workers’ lack of loyalty to their employers.
Apr 12, 2018
Blaine Pedersen, Manitoba’s Minister of Growth, Enterprise, and Trade, issued an apology yesterday for saying the high rate of unfilled jobs in his department is due to workers’ lack of loyalty to their employers, according to a report in the Winnipeg Free Press.
During his recent ministerial estimates – a committee hearing into all and any aspects of a departmental budget – Pedersen responded to a question on Monday about the high vacancy rates in his department, saying: "I'll try to explain this: there is no loyalty in the workforce anymore."
"Nowadays, my children's generation, who are in their 30s, they will have – the average career is five different careers,” said Pedersen. “So people move, whether it's from the civil service, whether it's from private business, they move around.”
Both of Manitoba’s Opposition parties took issue with the Minister’s comments, as did MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky.
"The minister keeps blaming others for vacancies in his own department, but the reality is that his own government is deliberately not filling vacancies and leaving vital public services without enough staff," the MGEU president said. "In fact, they have announced a target of eliminating 1,200 jobs as positions become vacant. That's not someone else's fault; that's their policy."
The minister initially refused to apologize, but it appears pressure from other political parties and the MGEU led to him taking back his comments. Pedersen admitted yesterday that,”we all wish we could bring words back when we say them. Perhaps loyalty was the wrong word to use, and I will admit that. I shouldn't have used the word," he said.
Despite a campaign pledge to protect front-line services and the people who provide them, Manitoba’s PC government remains on track to cut 1,200 jobs from the civil service.
“This government is deliberately cutting public service jobs and leaving positions unfilled,” Gawronsky said. “The Premier and his ministers need to take responsibility for the negative impact this policy is having on public services for Manitobans.”