The Manitoba Government has cut five jobs from the Manitoba Agriculture Services Corporation (MASC) and another four cuts are on the way.

“This is death by a thousand cuts,” said MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky. “Every cut adds up.  Every cut means more work for the others. And every cut takes its toll on the services Manitobans rely on.”

The cuts haven’t been widely discussed. A recent news story from Dauphin radio station, CKDM, brought the issue to light this week, which says a letter about the cuts was sent by the MASC President to all employees.  Like the other civil service job cuts, this too is a result of the government’s austerity-driven mandate to shrink the workforce by eight per cent.

“Coming from rural Manitoba, I know how important MASC is to farmers and I know how hard MASC employees work,” said Gawronsky.  “We’re coming up on a busy season for farmers and MASC.  So how does the government support them?  By cutting jobs and making things harder.  That’s not the way to protect and improve public services.”

The Agriculture Minister has denied these are job cuts and instead has insisted this is just a result of getting rid of vacant positions. While the current five positions cut are vacant, it is unknown if that will be the case for the next four positions to be eliminated.

MASC is a Crown corporation which administers insurance and lending programs for Manitoba farmers. According to its website, MASC also has extensive experience in designing, administering and delivering support programs for rural Manitobans on behalf of the governments of Manitoba and Canada.