The Federal Budget released by the Harper Government has set a clear direction for balancing the budget within the next five years by targeting the federal public service through austerity measures. The budget freezes federal departmental spending with the goal of reducing the debt on the backs of public service workers.
The government plans to restrain federal program spending overall. It will do this by freezing the total amount that government departments spend on salaries, administration and overhead, and by undertaking an aggressive review of all departmental spending. This is a direct threat to our jobs and the services we deliver.
The fact that Public Sector Pensions were not directly attacked in the budget is our victory and a testament to our ability to work concertedly and in unison.
But our actions to protect our pensions must continue, as we begin our campaign against the spending freeze. While the budget did not announce cuts to our pensions or changes to our contribution rates, it did say that the government would assess compensation, including pensions, against other jurisdictions to determine if our “compensation is reasonable”.
PSAC members in the Atlantic Region continue to mobilize to protect public sector pensions and to improve the retirement security of all Canadians. Over the past month town hall meetings have brought together over a thousand members. Plant gates, workplace information sessions and our national petition have reached thousands more.
But there are still more members to activate and to engage on the issue of pensions and now on the broader attacks contained the Budget announcement.
If the government wants to balance the budget on the backs of public service workers, then public service workers must fight back.
Take action now:
1. Go to psac-afpc.org/federal-budget and sign up to receive updated information on the impact of the budget.
2. Sign the pension petition and help collect more signatures. Our actions may have stopped the government for now, but the fight is far from over.
3. Report to your local executive any cuts or proposed reduction in workforce by management in your workplace.
4. Get involved. Talk to your local executives or your regional representatives about how to get more information on our fight to protect public sector pensions and public services.
5. Write letters to the editor and participate in online forums – help us send the message that this economic crisis wasn’t caused by workers and won’t be solved on our backs.
6. Visit PSAC Atlantic’s website at http://psacatlantic.com/ for information about activities in your area.
Regional Executive Vice-President, Atlantic Public Service Alliance of Canada