Pandemic-related cuts to Manitoba’s public sector workforce will likely be smaller than planned, Premier Brian Pallister said Tuesday.
Two weeks ago, the Progressive Conservative government said it wanted public-sector workers who are not on the front lines of health care and other key services to accept reduced work weeks or layoffs.
Pallister had asked provincial departments, Crown corporations and universities to draw up three different possible scenarios for reductions of 10, 20 and 30 per cent.
But in a news conference on Tuesday, Pallister said he said cuts aren’t likely to be that drastic.
“I don’t expect it to be anywhere near 10 per cent impact. The fact of the matter is it’ll be less than that and it’ll vary by department,” he said.
“But the whole purpose of this is, of course, to make sure that we are providing some savings and some resources so we can beef up our investments in the front line.”
Pallister said he would prefer to see shared work practices than people losing their jobs.
But some temporary layoffs have already taken place.
Universities, for example, have already laid off hundreds of employees.
Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries has let people go due to the closure of casinos and video lottery terminal lounges under public-health orders.
The Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union said it was still waiting to hear which other workers might be affected.
“When they say the devil’s in the details, that’s what we’re looking for,” union president Michelle Gawronsky said.
“Unfortunately, we’re still left in the dark.”
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