COVID-19 Update #10: Premier continues to talk about work reduction scheme with few details
It is difficult to know how seriously to take the Premier's comments, but it appears the backlash against his scheme to impose cuts and layoffs may be having an impact. He is now talking about impacting far fewer public workers than he was just last week.
Apr 29, 2020It has now been two full weeks since Premier Pallister first announced his intention to impose public service cuts, layoffs, and work reductions.
Since that time, the MGEU, along with economists, business and community leaders, and regular Manitobans, have been outspoken in saying that the cuts and layoffs would only make the current pandemic crisis worse.
And though 14 days have passed, provincial officials have still not provided MGEU with any concrete details about which or how many public workers they want to deem "non-essential." The province has still not said what services would be cut to achieve the Premier's cost-cutting goals.
Employers at some MGEU workplaces have been able to provide enough details about their proposals to have meaningful discussions. For example, at Assiniboine Community College, Manitoba Centennial Corporation, and Manitoba Public Insurance, MGEU was able to negotiate agreements that minimize the impact of work reduction measures on our members. We have shown that we are willing to listen and to negotiate reasonable solutions.
While we have had some exchanges with provincial officials about opportunities for redeployment of civil service members to areas most needed in the fight against COVID-19, the province has not been able to provide any concrete details about their work reduction proposals for the civil service.
The only new information available about the Premier's proposals comes from his comments in the news media. Last week, he talked about 25% of public workers being impacted by his layoff and work reduction scheme. Yesterday, he told media: "I don't expect it to be anywhere near 10 per cent impact. The fact of the matter is, it'll be less than that, and it will vary by department."
It is difficult to know how seriously to take the Premier's media comments, but it appears the backlash against his scheme to impose cuts and layoffs may be having an impact. He is now talking about impacting far fewer public workers than he was just last week.
We will continue to make the case against cuts and layoffs, and we will continue to press for basic information about what specifically the Premier wants members to consider. And as our representatives learn more, we will keep members updated.
This update was posted on April 29, 2020. Because this situation is evolving rapidly, we encourage you to visit the MGEU's COVID-19 Information page for the latest information.