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When the economy is down, and the money is tight, and a recession looms in the near future what would be the best course of action for the government of Alberta?  Apparently, firing 6000 people from their jobs is the correct answer according to Jason Kenny and his merry band of right-wing ideologues.   The raging boner the UCP has for austerity and the gutting of the public sector has never been more apparent.

Nearly 6,000 Alberta public-sector jobs could be eliminated as the UCP government tries to cut costs and find efficiencies, the provincial government signalled to Alberta’s largest union in letters released late Friday afternoon.

The union received the letters in advance of bargaining for 2020 collective agreements. The letters are not formal notices of layoffs, but as required under the collective bargaining process, outline cuts the provincial government might make.

The potential cuts would impact 2,500 Government of Alberta positions across several ministries, as well as the following positions at Alberta Health Services:

  • 1,000 to 2,000 housekeepers;
  • 350 administrative support and medical transcription employees;
  • 250 general support staff, such as maintenance employees;
  • 235 laundry and linen operations staff;
  • 200 auxiliary nursing employees, such as licensed practical nurses and health-care aides;
  • 200 home care services staff;
  • 165 foodservice employees.

“The [Government of Alberta] will continue to guarantee employment security until March 30, 2020, for permanent bargaining unit employees using attrition, vacancy management and redeployment to meet employer needs,” states a Thursday letter to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees from Alberta Public Service Commissioner Tim Grant.”

Because having 6000 fewer breaking even, paying their bills without assistance, and supporting the floundering local economy isn’t sound economic policy.

The mass layoffs will put people who have to use our health care system at risk.  Never fear though, these public employee’s may be partially replaced by private workers and companies who will charge more for the same job, while providing inferior service and products.

“If further contracting out initiatives are to be considered in future, we will advise as required,” the letter states.

“AHS will continue to consider all options available to meet our organizational needs including changes to staff mix, service redesign, including changes and repurposing of sites, relocating services, reducing or ceasing the provision of services,” it says.

Notley said it is clear the UCP government intends to further privatize public services.

“Albertans will pay the price for this. And again, it’s entirely unnecessary. This has gone from prudent fiscal management to an extreme ideological vendetta.”

The ‘fuck you, I’ve got mine’ crowd has been crowing about trimming the fat and reducing bloat in the public sector.  They never seem to connect the idea that the people working these jobs: nurses, teachers and those who support them, are more likely that not, providing services that benefit the fat trimmers.

See also the standard neo-liberal ploy of hollowing out public institutions, then decrying said institutions for not being effective, and then turning to privatization as the magical panacea that will fix the systems they just sabotaged.

The problem is that this strategy never works for the benefit of the end users – the public – as they inevitably will be saddled with less efficient, more expensive private services.  Who this benefits, of course, is the businesses and corporations who will make handsome profits while immiserating the populace.

Thank you UCP voters…

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