The Saskatchewan government’s latest scheme to force workers to take unpaid days off to balance the books illustrates a complete lack of respect for working people.

“The provincial government’s latest attack on workers’ income will do little to balance the budget, but will hurt the working people of this province, and the people who depend on the public services we provide,” said Tom Graham, president of CUPE Saskatchewan. “Cuts to working people’s wages are just going to mean less spending money in the pockets of Saskatchewan families and won’t actually help the economy recover.”

One unpaid day off per month equates to a five per cent wage roll back for working people. This tops a long list of wage freezes, other roll backs and threats of layoffs and cuts in health care, education and social services that the government has already threatened.

“We have a revenue problem today because of this government’s reckless spending,” said Graham. “They have sold off or given away sources of revenue, buried us in expensive P3 and lean contracts, and now the only solution they have for a situation they created is to punish frontline workers.”

Close to 40,000 public sector employees in Saskatchewan, including 24,000 CUPE members, have collective agreements that have expired or soon-to-be-expired.

“This government seems determined to create an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear for public sector workers by musing about significant layoffs, cuts and rollbacks in the media,” said Graham. “CUPE will continue to stand up for our members and the public services we provide with every tool we can, including legal mechanisms.”

CUPE is the largest union in the province and represents 30,000 workers in health care, education, municipalities, social services and community based organizations throughout the province.