The Pallister government has once again showed its disrespect for frontline workers and their unions by refusing to work with them in good faith, NDP MLA Tom Lindsey said today.
“While we’re happy the government has finally met with labour leaders – nearly eight months after being elected – today’s meeting with Finance Minister Cameron Friesen appears to be nothing but a smokescreen with a predetermined outcome,” Lindsey said. “Despite his earlier promises, the premier didn’t bother to attend the meeting. It’s clear he’s not interested in listening to the concerns of frontline workers and doesn’t want their input into government policy. It’s also clear he’s setting the stage for tearing up contracts, freezing wages and cutting services.”
Lindsey noted the Pallister government made its intentions clear before consulting with labour leaders by stating in the throne speech that it is prepared to tear up existing contracts and legislate wage and job cuts to meet its goals. Lindsey also noted the premier sparked a faculty strike at the University of Manitoba, hurting thousands of students in the process, by interfering in negotiations and demanding wage freezes.
“Any changes to contracts should be negotiated with service providers, not imposed by a government with a single-minded agenda,” Lindsey said. “The Pallister government must stop trying to achieve its agenda on the backs of frontline workers.”
Lindsey called on the Pallister government to stick to its election promise to protect frontline services and frontline workers. So far, the premier’s actions have created a chill among frontline workers and have hurt families by freezing and cutting services, he added.
“The premier can start to restore faith that he cares about frontline workers and services by immediately appointing labour representatives to his Red Tape Reduction Task Force and to the Premier’s Enterprise Team,” Lindsey said. “If he’s serious about wanting to improve services, he should start listening to the people who deliver them.”