Saskatchewan

Union head furious with proposed civil service cuts

The head of the union that represents thousands of Saskatchewan government workers is furious with plans to cut the civil service.

The  head of the union that represents thousands of Saskatchewan government workers is furious with plans to cut the civil service.

Bob Bymoen, president of the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees Union, was reacting to the Opposition NDP's statement Tuesday that this year's budget will outline a four per cent reduction in the public service this year, followed by an additional four per cent a year for each of the following three years.

Saskatchewan Finance Minister Rod Gantefoer didn't confirm what the NDP is calling the four-by-four plan, but said an overall reduction is something that could be reached largely through attrition, including retirements.

Saskatchewan has about 12,000 people in government jobs. A four per cent reduction, applied every year for four years, would amount to a loss of about 1,800 jobs.

Bymoen said the government won't save any money if it goes through with the strategy.

"What I'm seeing today and I've been seeing it for a while now is jobs not being filled and the work being contracted out for three times the price," he said. "That's just not acceptable. That's not good public policy."

Bymoen also accused the Saskatchewan Party government of giving bigger increases to its own political staff than to the rest of the public service.

"All these people are doing very well, all their friends are doing very well and the average taxpayer in this province is footing the bill and going to get less services," he said.