President Ward addresses membership on job cuts

Posted April 20, 2012

Greetings PEI UPSE members,

We have all heard the Budget report for the province yesterday. Contained in this budget are many negative recommendations which will affect all of us as tax payers. The HST will see many of us paying much more for many more items while business effectively gets a tax break.

The Minister would like Islanders to believe that the private sector is the sole economic engine of the economy in Prince Edward Island. Never has this been further from the truth. The public sector offers good paying jobs, effective social programs, and public policy that not only generates wealth in the province but ensures that wealth is fairly distributed. The Liberal budget ignores this reality by attacking and diminishing the public service, and by arbitrarily appointing the private sector as the only viable solution for our economic future.

The Minister would like the public to believe that 85% of the jobs lost in the public service will be through attrition. However, this is not the case as 273 casual employees at Transportation Infrastructure and Renewal, 17 Property Guards, and many others working in a variety of departments have lost their jobs. The Minister has stated that all affected employees have found jobs and this is false. The Minister also has stated that the government has shown compassion in implementing the layoffs and this contradicts the message we have received from our members. Indeed, in many areas where the message was delivered about the layoffs the compassion was not felt.

• Property guards - as they met with the employer to face the news of job losses the locks were being changed and they were escorted out the door. Where was the compassion?

• Family Ties program will leave 55 families with children/teens in crisis to the mercy of the streets with no further supports offered to them. Where was the compassion?

• Many departments have seen an overwhelming abolishing of their colleague's positions. This has created a very stressful work place which is already bursting at the seams to deliver services. We have seen no indication from the employer that any of these employees have been shown any compassion to help them all through this process.

Your union has been meeting with these employees as requested. We encourage any member who needs assistance,wants to discuss the impact in their work site, or just wants to talk about what is going on and how they are feeling to call us any time. We all need to be supportive of each other while going through this very difficult time. We will continue discussions with the employer in an effort to try and figure out just what will happen with the services that are left for us to deliver.

We will continue to keep you abreast of any information as it arises and will continue to be here for every member of the PEI UPSE. Standing in solidarity we can survive these attacks.

In Solidarity,

Shelley Ward, President, PEI UPSE.