Public service unions lash out at government plans
Published Friday, November 28, 2008 6:43PM EST
A union representing public service workers says it "will not stand idly by" for measures outlined in Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's fiscal update, and are willing to take the government to court.
Flaherty's mid-term economic statement includes a plan to cap public service raises to 2.3 per cent this year and 1.5 per cent annually the next three years and temporarily remove the right to strike in the public service.
The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada calls it a "simplistic, ideological" update that tramples workers' rights enshrined "both in the Constitution and in our social fabric."
The union, which represents 55,000 professionals and scientists, also says the government should invest directly in the economy instead of "using the public service as a scapegoat."
"We will take on this legislation," said Walter Belyea of the Professional Institute.
"Let there be no mistake."
Belyea told CTV Ottawa the group believes the plan flies in the face of a Supreme Court decision which struck down a similar law in B.C.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada is equally incensed.
"The right to strike is sacrosanct," said John Gordon, PSAC's president. "You do not take away the right to strike. Free collective bargaining and the right to strike go hand in hand."
CTV Ottawa's Norman Fetterley reported that while Conservatives may take a political hit in the Ottawa area, the government may believe that taking a poke at the bureaucracy may prove more popular across the country - as others have found in the past.
With reports from CTV Ottawa's Norman Fetterley and The Canadian Press
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