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Over 200 CUPE members stormed the New Brunswick legislature today to protest a Tory government budget that threatens job cuts and privatization.

CUPE New Brunswick leaders struck a chord at the opening of the division convention when they proposed entering the legislature during Premier Bernard Lord’s final speech on the budget.

Our members do not intend to watch this government destroy our services and jobs under the guise of ‘compassion’, said division president Susan Barton. We are here to tell them that job cuts and their agenda of privatization are not acceptable.

This government has no mandate to dismantle our public services, added Tom Steep, pres-ident of CUPE 1190, representing provincial highway workers. A lot of people don’t realize that the promised tax cuts will be more than used up by losses in service.

National Secretary-Treasurer Geraldine McGuire joined convention delegates inside the legislature as they sang Solidarity Forever and called out Shame when Premier Lord began his speech.

The Lord willing, and I don’t mean Premier Lord, we are serving notice to this government today that job cuts and privatization are not on, she said.

The protest, which shut down the legislature, was the unofficial kickoff of a division campaign to step up the fight against the budget.

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