Throne Speech Raises Questions about Plans for the Civil Service
President Gawronsky addresses media in the Manitoba Legislative Building after the government's Speech from the Throne.
Nov 20, 2018
Today the Pallister Government unveiled its Speech from the Throne. Often referred to as a provincial blueprint, it’s a chance for government to lay out their priorities and direction for the year ahead. Today’s speech contained concerning language around advancing transformation of public services with a new Public Service Act.
“All Manitobans should be a little uneasy with this announcement today,” said MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky. “We have a provincial government fixated on cutting and privatizing public services and now they might replace the Civil Service Act? What does that mean for public services such as water testing, highway improvements or crime protection to name a few?”
The government set a goal of cutting 1,200 jobs in the civil service by Spring 2019, and they met that in October of this year. This has forced MGEU members to do more with less and take on increased workloads.
The throne speech also says this new legislation “Will foster alignment beyond core government departments and across our public service. In addition to enhanced oversight, it will incorporate greater flexibility to support innovation, renewal and engagement, ensuring our public service continues to attract diverse, skilled professionals.”
“This government is not afraid to hack and slash programs and services. They are in the middle of privatizing Pineland Forest Nursery and Government Air Services,” Gawronsky said. “It’s a huge concern for government to tinker with this legislation. They obviously have a plan, and they should be sharing it with Manitobans. Our public services are at stake.”
The current civil service collective agreement expires March 29, 2019. The agreement will remain in effect until a new one is negotiated and ratified. The special “no-lay-off” clause will end on March, 29, 2019.
“This gives us real cause for concern. We purposely negotiated that no-lay-off clause and with talk of a new act and more transformation, our members need answers from this government on what the future holds,” said Gawronsky.
The MGEU represents approximately 12,000 members in the civil service.