WINNIPEG – The province has revealed some of their long-awaited plans on tackling the deficit, and they are not as dire as some had worried.
The Public Services Sustainability Act will not include wage cuts, unpaid days off or affect pensions. Instead, there will be a four-year plan that includes wage freezes for two years.
The plan takes affect at the end of the current collective agreements: two years of freezes for union- and non-union workers, a max wage increase of .75 per cent in the third year and a max wage increase of one per cent in the fourth year.
“Establishing a rolling four-year sustainability period will create a framework for future increases to public sector compensation,” explained finance minister Cameron Friesen. “The bill takes a balanced and moderate approach to ensuring the sustainability of public service, and will protect front-line services for Manitobans in a fiscally responsible way.”
This would apply to roughly 120,000 employees.
The province also introduced the Health Sector Bargaining Review Act, which aims to drastically lower the number of separate bargaining units in Manitoba’s health care system.
The government has made this plan clear for some time, but now we know a target: taking 182 units and trying to get the number down below 50.
“It will enable and improve patient care by reducing the number of bargaining units and increasing flexibility to better deliver care in the health care system,” said health minister Kelvin Goertzen during question period. “The structure of our system is complex, and this bill will reduce administrative costs.”
Today’s announcements come just over three weeks ahead of the revealing of the 2017 budget on April 11.