'They've already paid their fair share': Labour leader scoffs at pay cut

They are protesting a number of recent government decisions, including a directive Tuesday from the premier that workers in the public sector take an overall pay cut of 3.5 per cent — or the equivalent in unpaid days off.

Premier Brad Wall wants overall public sector compensation slashed by 3.5%

CUPE Saskatchewan president Tom Graham was among the speakers at the rally at the Saskatchewan Legislature on Wednesday. (SRC/CBC)

Hundreds of public sector employees gathered in front of the Legislative Building in Regina on Wednesday afternoon to protest the government's proposed public pay cuts.

They rallied against a spate of recent government decisions, including a directive Tuesday from the premier that workers in the public sector take an overall pay cut of 3.5 per cent — or the equivalent in unpaid days off.

"All of this is intended to force people who didn't cause the economic problems that the province is facing to pay for them," said Larry Hubich, president of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour.

The government has proposed that public sector employees take a 3.5 per cent pay cut. (CBC News)

"It's the Sask. Party government's attempt to scapegoat others for their own financial mismanagement."

Hubich noted public sector employees had previously undergone austerity measures under the Sask. Party's rule, including public sector reductions of 4 per cent per year, for four years which was mandated in 2010.

"They've already paid their fair share," Hubich said. 

Premier Brad Wall has said that companies in the oil sector are making some of those same decisions: layoffs versus pay cuts.

Hubich said that argument is tough for government workers to swallow.

"They're really hurting out there and it doesn't make any sense in a tough economic time when other sectors are struggling that somehow punishing public sector workers will make other workers feel good," Hubich said.

Larry Hubich said the provincial government has blamed the public sector for what he calls terrible mismanagement of finances. (CBC News)

He said a blow to the public sector will not help the private sector as it would reduce the amount of money people have to spend and pump into the economy.

"Two wrongs don't make a right."

Workers will also protest the sale of any part of SaskTel.

The premier recently said the government will not sell the entire company but would be open to selling up to 49 per cent of it.