Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says some provincial Crown corporations will reduce the work weeks of their employees to account for lost revenues because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The premier said on Thursday that Crown corporations are eligible for federal work share programs under which employees work reduced hours, but also collect employment insurance. The program is already used by private businesses.
Earlier this week, Pallister called on the federal government to open up the wage subsidy program to non-essential civil servants.
He said Thursday he will speaking to Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland within the next 24 hours about extending the program to the public sector.
The Manitoba premier said it is the only way to avoid layoffs.
“Frankly, if the unions and the federal government want to force us to do layoffs, we’ll have to do some layoffs,” he said. “There’s no doubt about it.”
Pallister also said that some workers support the idea.
Several unions have expressed concern, saying they are unsure which of their members would be considered essential employees.
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