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Liberals push public services to the brink

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Dear friend:

A few days ago I put out a call to OPSEU members. I wanted to know, directly from you, how the current Liberal era of cutbacks is affecting you and the service you provide.

I was bowled over by the response. Within 48 hours, over 2,000 members had filled out our survey. The results proved what we’ve been saying all along: budget pressures are pushing public services to the brink in this province, right across the board.

Let me share some early survey results:

  • 83 per cent of survey respondents said they are witnessing increased demand for the services they provide.
  • 85 per cent said they’ve noticed the effects of budget cuts in their workplace.
  • 70 per cent said they’ve seen staffing reductions.
  • 68 per cent said the quality of service provided by their program has been reduced (41) or significantly reduced (27).

Growing demand, reduced staffing, lower quality? Six years after the last recession, things should be getting better in the public sector. But they’re not. With this government, cuts are what counts. Loyal, efficient service to the people of Ontario doesn’t matter, it seems.

In our survey, many OPSEU members – 29 per cent – said they’ve witnessed privatization or outsourcing where they work. As I’ve noted before, this loss of control over services does nothing to improve service quality. But it is very effective at handing over public dollars to well-connected private interests.

It is also deeply offensive to frontline public employees. Not surprisingly, 92 per cent of our survey respondents said it is not reasonable for the government to ask public employees to accept wage and benefit cuts – not when our Auditor General says the Liberals paid $8 billion too much for privately-run infrastructure projects!

I’ve been greatly impressed by the number of OPSEU members who have taken part in demonstrations and made their voices heard in recent weeks. Let’s build on that. Let’s make our voices even louder now. Let’s tell the people of Ontario what’s really happening.

Because when public services are pushed to the brink, it’s time to push back.

In solidarity,

Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union

P.S. If you haven’t already completed our survey, please do!

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