Thursday, March 24, 2011

SGEU Responds to Provincial Budget

Provincial budget abandons vulnerable children and families

The provincial government is abandoning its responsibility to safeguard our province’s most vulnerable children and families by cutting jobs in the Ministry of Social Services in the 2011-12 provincial budget, according to SGEU.

“It is reckless and immoral for this government to slash positions in Social Services given the crisis we face in the child welfare system, and the problems confronting families who can’t find affordable housing or help for those living with disabilities or mental illnesses,” says SGEU President Bob Bymoen.

In the past two years, government has cut 75 positions in Social Services. Fiftyseven jobs were eliminated last year. And, though there is a modest budget increase in 2011-12, another 17.7 positions will be lost this year.
Overall, 273.5 positions will be cut from the public service in 2011-12. Many of these positions are to be eliminated from ministries that employ frontline workers who deliver direct services to the people of Saskatchewan.

For example, 87.5 positions will be cut from the Ministry of Highways, 22 in Education, and 18 in Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport.

“Saskatchewan is experiencing unprecedented population growth. With more families in our towns and cities, there is a growing need for the quality public services we all rely on. We can’t keep cutting social workers, highways workers, educators, and health care workers without putting public health and safety at risk,”
Bymoen adds.

The government says the position cuts in this year’s budget will not result in layoffs for current employees. However, the result will be fewer workers on the frontlines to meet public needs, as people who retire or leave are simply not replaced.

The government’s plan to reduce the public service by 15 per cent over four years, announced in last year’s budget, is a growing threat to the long-term stability of our province. "Once you eliminate the programs and services Saskatchewan people have struggled to build over generations, it will be almost impossible to get them back. We need a real Saskatchewan vision for the future – one that extends help and hope to all, especially those who are currently most in need,” Bymoen says.

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