PSAC protests possible service cuts


Public servants took to the streets across the country Thursday to protest the federal government’s plans to make cuts to the civil service. 

PSAC protests possible service cuts
By: Winnipeg Free Press 
2/03/2012 1:00 AM
WINNIPEG — Cut, cut, cut. … Here we go again, say federal workers. 
Public servants took to the streets across the country Thursday to protest the federal government’s plans to make cuts to the civil service. 
Members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada took to the street in front of Brandon’s federal building on Princess Avenue as part of a national protest against the Conservative government’s austerity agenda. 
“Today, public service workers are standing together in solidarity to voice their concern,” says Robyn Benson, regional executive vice-president for the PSAC Prairie Region. 
“We’re standing united to bring attention to the harm that the cuts to public services will have on Canadian families and communities.” 
The PSAC’s National Day of Action comes just one day after Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced the federal budget will be brought down on March 29. 
This budget will lay the groundwork to cut public services by $4 to $8 billion annually over the next three years. This could mean the loss of more than 100,000 public and private sector jobs across Canada, according to the union. 
Workers also held noon-hour rallies at three locations in Winnipeg. 
“It’s kind of like looking at ghosts as you go by,” said Steven Cabak, a local vice-chair of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, speaking at a rally in front of Federal Building at 269 Main St. “I know I won’t see these people in a year or two.” 
Cuts are rumoured everywhere, such as at the Canadian Grain Commission, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and Canada Agriculture offices at the Main Street corner where one rally took place. The Canadian Grain Commission has 500 employees, 200 of which are located in downtown Winnipeg. 
“A lot of people are very nervous. Their livelihoods are at stake,” Cabak said. 
Meanwhile, 20 Human Resources jobs in Winnipeg have already been eliminated, part of centralizing HR operations in New Brunswick. 
Cabak said the country’s financial problems were created by the financial sector, but the government is making workers pay for it with their jobs. 
He said cuts to the civil service will undermine health care, safety, and the environment — wait times for things such as government processing of forms and applications will take longer. 
Some motorists honked as they went by the placard-waving crowd. The Main Street rally only lasted about 20 minutes and about 40 people demonstrated. 
Rallies were also held at the Winnipeg Tax Centre on Stapon Road and the Service Canada Building on Broadway.
»Winnipeg Free Press, with files from the Brandon Sun
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 2, 2012