The PEI Union of Public Sector Employees thinks the Liberal Government's election style budget does little to protect the public services Islanders depend on, and leaves public employees worried about their future.
President Shelley Ward says "the Ghiz Government has once again failed to assume any responsibility for their own mismanagement of tax payers' money and is using the public service as a scapegoat. I can point to tens of millions of dollars that have been squandered by the Ghiz administration from the PNP debacle, to e-health cost over runs, to countless millions in bad loans given to their friends. This is all money that could have been used to fill vacant positions in the health care system, and improve essential services for Islanders right across the board."
Ward explains that "vacancy management, as mentioned in the budget, is nothing new and is simply buzz words used to appease the public. The Ghiz administration has been practicing 'vacany management' all along - we have a list of job vacancies and they are steadily increasing. The province has not been creating permanent positions and continues to use casual employees to fill gaps. Also, they are hiring outside of the union, whereby friends of the government are placed in high paying excluded positions."
"The bottom line is that the Ghiz Government has no concrete plan to ensure that Islanders receive continually improving service. If anything, services for Islanders are in jeopardy. The Premier is talking about eliminating positions but has not clearly explained how this will happen. Our members are worried about what is to come. Further, how can this government claim it will eliminate positions through attrition and at the same time have no succession plan in place? Clearly this budget lacks vision and coherence," says Ward.
The President of the largest union in PEI is also concerned about the government's idea to explore a shared services model that would include Finance Administration and Human Resource management. The Binns Government adopted a similiar strategy with IT Shared Services and it cost the province millions as they were forced to rely on private sector IT services with companies like DeltaWare. Not only did the government fail to realize any savings by eliminating public service positions, but they also created an unfair playing ground for the Island's private IT sector by awarding contracts to those with connections.
President Ward says 'the Ghiz Government should be congratulated for bringing kindergarten into the public school system and for the implementation of the Preschool Excellence Initiative. However, overall, the budget contains little in the way of improved service delivery for Islanders."
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Please contact Mark Barrett at 892-5335 (or toll-free at 1-800-897-8773) to arrange an interview.