MEDIA RELEASE: Baffled by the Budget

MEDIA RELEASE: Baffled by the Budget

For Immediate Release, April 11, 2018

Saskatoon – SEIU-West members and leaders attended the Legislature on April 10 as the 2018-2019 Saskatchewan provincial budget was released. Although the budget did promise some additional funding for the health, education, and community-based sectors (CBOs), it offered no real solution to the fundamental challenges those sectors face.

“This budget will not address the shortage of front line staff in the health, education and community-based sectors. We’ve seen no guarantees that this extra money will be spent on staff,” said Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West. “These sectors are about direct care. That means providing hands-on, face-to-face human services to patients, students, seniors, children, and people living with disabilities. We see this as a failure of the government to meet its obligations to the people of this province.”

“While government has announced savings over the last year in the move to one health region and repeated commitments to reinvest in front line care, our members have experienced no added supports to front line care,” continued Cape. “Rather, there appears to be the creation of many new out-of-scope and administrative positions.”

“SEIU-West members have reported that they have received a commitment from their MLAs to end the wage rollback mandate, yet we question whether such promises will be kept.” said Cape. “Sadly, our members recognize this as a lack of credibility and believe that our government disrespects our front line experts.”

“Within the education sector and the CBO sectors, the so-called ‘improvements’ in this budget are bothersome,” added Cape.

“In education, we need added funding targeted to the front line to ensure all children have a positive and safe learning environment,” said Cape. “Students in the classroom need educational assistants, library assistants, admin assistants working as part of a larger team. The scattershot approach to funding in education is insufficient for our students’ success.”

“As for CBOs, which provide vital services and is our last social safety net, SEIU-West has been calling for an audit of the Social Services funding model, so we welcome that announcement,” said Cape. “Our members want to ensure that the daily needs of our clients and residents are being met and have real concerns with the Ministry grants and funding models throughout the group home sector. Our province needs to invest in the staff who are supporting independence by paying a fairly negotiated wage. Our members and their clients know that there is no substitute for hands-on, face-to-face services.”

SEIU-West represents more than 13,000 working people in the province of Saskatchewan. They include members who work in health care, education, municipalities, community-based organizations, retirement homes and other sectors. They are joined by one colour – purple – and one union – SEIU-West. Purple works in our communities! Visit www.PurpleWorks.ca to find out more about the members of SEIU-West.

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For more information, contact:
Christine Miller, Communications Coordinator
Phone: 306-652-1011 ext. 8733

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