Government employee unions in Saskatchewan strongly believe wage rollbacks and layoffs are not the way to patch up the yawning hole in the province’s budget.
In media interviews, Premier Brad Wall has suggested that public sector workers may be asked to take less to help tackle the province’s $1 billion deficit.
Yup, I mentioned that in the interview. If we decided to go down that road, we would lead by example and begin with elected officials. https://t.co/3KpmxPH6OH
— Brad Wall (@PremierBradWall) December 28, 2016
Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union (SGEU) President Bob Bymoen said the government should look at its spending in the private sector and elected officials rather than make cuts to the public sector.
He said the private sector has received higher wage increases over the last 10 years so comparing the two is “misleading”.
“When the private sector is averaging five per cent increases over those years, we were getting less than two to begin with,” Bymoen said. “So the comparison is missing some of the important facts.”
He added he was unhappy about the comments Wall made to the media.
“When we got collective agreements that are open and we have people at the bargaining table, for him to be out making these comments is inappropriate,” he said.
Bymoen noted they’ve been raising concerns about government spending since Wall was elected. He cited high spending on outside consultants, senior salaries of people close to the premier, as well as contracts and P3 agreements the government has handed out.
“It’s those things and it’s that mismanagement that has really caused the problem in this province of revenue,” he said.
Bymoen also said he feels if the government doesn’t change its spending in the private sector, rolling back wages would be “completely irrelevant”.
SEIU-West, which represent 13,000 members in the province, said in a news release their workers didn’t benefit from the economic boom.
“Now Mr. Wall is making them pay for his government’s mismanagement,” President Barbara Cape said. “Our Premier still has a lot of work to do to earn the goodwill and good faith of our members.”