2003-2004 Co-ordinated Bargaining
April 19 statement by Wayne Lucas
The government is being dishonest with the public on the sick leave issue. This government’s proposal on sick leave won’t save government one red cent for years. Why? Because it applies to new hires only. And this government has no plans to hire.
In its budget, this government announced layoffs of 4,000 with more to come. This alone will have a dramatic impact on sick leave, injury rates and WCB claims. If Danny and Loyola are trying to tackle sick leave, they are sure going about it in an ass backwards way.
CUPE and NAPE offered government three different approaches to reducing sick leave use that would actually save money. They have rejected all three.
Why won’t government budge on sick leave? We suspect they are simply too stubborn to admit they are wrong. They put 20,000 people on strike over this issue, and they’re keeping them on strike over it. This is absolutely shameful behaviour.
Even if you disagree with the current sick leave policy, to force a strike over it, to cause all this pain over it, makes no sense at all.
The second concession on the table is with respect to the Young and Warren reports on school board workers’ hours of work.
Is there any of you out there with kids in the school system, who believe that our schools are too clean or that teachers have too much administrative support?
I have been a school board worker for 29 years and I can tell you – staffing in the schools is cut to the bone. There’s nothing left to cut!
And my final question to the people of this province is this - where is the premier in all of this? He came to the table on March 31st. Now we’re 20 days into the strike, and he’s nowhere to be seen!
This strike will not get settled until Danny Williams comes to the table, takes the concessions off and gets these 20,000 hard-working public sector workers back to work where they belong.
Brothers and Sisters, stay strong – our cause is a just one and we will be triumphant!