OttawaPublic sector workers are on strike across this country because they demand a living wage and because they need proper levels of staffing and funding in order to do their jobs, said Judy Darcy, National President of Canadas largest union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
For over a decade public sector workers have been told to tighten their belts, and to do their jobs with fewer resources. If nothing else the strikes that have hit the nation are a loud reminder to the federal government that Canadians want and use their public services despite the chronic under funding of the last decade, said Darcy.
Our most recent Annual Report on Privatization Dollars and Democracy outlines the dramatic impact under funding and privatization of public services has had on the workers who provide the service and also on the public who depend on services, added Darcy.
The link between the under funding and privatization of our public services and the pitched fervor that the federal government has demonstrated with regards to new corporate trade deals are essential to understanding the increased unrest in Canada. Anger is showing up in public sector collective bargaining and in citizens protests across the country. Canadians dont want to lose their public services and they want government to be accountable, said Darcy.
Privatization of public services has led to wide dissatisfaction among the public and the workers. Privatization costs more not only in dollars and cents but it also costs us government accountability and public access. This is just the beginning of the push back against the erosion of public services, concluded Darcy.
CUPE is Canadas largest union, representing 495,000 women and men in health care, education, municipalities, social services, libraries, utilities, transportation and airlines across the country.