He did not provide details on the number of jobs that would involve, which workers would be affected, or how many employees could share jobs instead of being laid off until the end of the pandemic.
“We hope to continue working with unions to avoid layoffs. Employers (in the public sector) have other options to explore, such as voluntary reduced work weeks and work-sharing options, “said Finance Minister Scott Fielding.
Coronavirus: Manitoba unions mistrust provincial work cut proposal
The Progressive Conservative government expects the COVID crisis to hit the $ 5 billion budget – a combination of rising health care costs and cutting tax revenues from a crisis economy.
Last month, the government asked public sector workers to consider accepting reduced work weeks and job sharing to help control spending or deal with layoffs.
Shortly after, the government ordered universities, Crown corporations, and other public bodies to develop three scenarios to reduce their labor costs by September – 10, 20, and 30 percent.
Fielding said the government had resulted in an average reduction that would save 2.2% in labor costs. But it’s for the whole year – not just the temporary reduction period of four months.
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The percentage also varies considerably between each public body, he added.
Crown corporations in the province, for example, are expected to see cuts that represent an 11.2% saving over the whole year, said Fielding. Much of this is related to Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, which operates two casinos that were closed by the pandemic.
School divisions and universities are expected to see their labor costs fall by around 1.3%.
Fielding said the layoffs, as well as a reduction in non-essential travel and other government spending, will free up $ 860 million this year to fight COVID-19.
The Manitoba government and the General Employees Union have said there has been no talk of the number of jobs that will be cut.
“They still haven’t talked to us at all,” said union president Michelle Gawronsky.
Coronavirus: Manitoba government workers asked to consider shorter work week
“We had three weeks of people waking up every morning wondering if they had a job at the end of the day. “
Also on Monday, the government reported that there have been no new cases of COVID-19 in line with a long upward trend to zero or one digit.
The total number of cases remains at 281. Six people died and 238 recovered, leaving 37 active cases in the province.
Coronavirus outbreak: Manitoba economic reopening “not a return to normal,” says health official
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you should know:
Health authorities warn against all international travel. Return travelers are legally required to self-isolate for 14 days, starting March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent the spread of the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented recommendations or additional enforcement measures to ensure the self-isolation of people returning to the region.
Symptoms may include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing – very similar to a cold or the flu. Some people may develop a more serious illness. Those most at risk are the elderly and people with serious chronic conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend washing your hands frequently and coughing up your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying at home as much as possible, and keeping two meters away from others if you go out.
For full COVID-19 coverage by Global News, click here.
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