SGEU among those unhappy with Sask. government's decision to privatize liquor stores

The union claims hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue will be lost.

The union claims hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue will be lost

Bob Byoem, president of the SGEU, says privatizing 40 government-owned liquor stores will result in jobs and government revenue lost. (CBC)

The Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union is not happy about the government's announcement to change liquor regulations.

On Wednesday the Saskatchewan government announced 40 stores will be sold to private operators, but it won't happen until after the next election. The announcement created a mix of reactions.

RELATED: Several groups happy with Sask. government's move to privatize liquor stores

RELATED: Saskatchewan to privatize 40 government-owned liquor stores

Bob Bymoen, president of SGEU, claims that privatizing 40 government-owned liquor stores will negatively impact the province.

  • About 200 employees will be out of work, according to the union.
  • More than $30 million will be lost revenue, according to the union. 

"How is that good for Saskatchewan? We're quite appalled and disappointed in this government's announcement."

The union says many of the lost jobs will come from rural Saskatchewan. 

No jobs, no communities. It breaks my heart.- Bob Bymoen, SGEU President

"No jobs, no communities. It breaks my heart. I come from rural Saskatchewan and I'm quite familiar with a lot of those rural towns."

Bymoen also questions where the lost revenue will be made up by the government,

"Are they going to increase the wholesale price, so that they stay neutral and then pass that onto the consumers? Or are we just going to have less revenue?"

Bymoen said he would like a third party to review the impact that privatization will have on jobs and government revenue. 

When it comes to the changes in consumer costs, NDP critic for the SLGA Cathy Sproule said she doesn't expect to see much difference.

"Ninety-nine per cent of the prices are likely not going to change, so that doesn't help me as a consumer," she said. "We see hundreds of millions of dollars that come to the public coffers that are going to disappear out of province."

Several groups have voiced their support of the government's new plan, including the Saskatchewan Hotel and Hospitality Association which said these changes strip down a system which was previously too difficult to operate. 


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