March 24, 2010
Block the Manitoba NDP attack on public sector workers By: Darrell Rankin, Leader, Communist Party of Canada - Manitoba, 24 March 2010
Dear Friends, Sisters and Brothers,
In the Manitoba budget yesterday the NDP government said it will try to freeze the wages of lower-income public sector workers, many of whom are Aboriginal, immigrants, women or youth. This kind of injury will be remembered for many years.
Originally the government threatened to impose a wage freeze or fire workers. It will now "negotiate" a two-year wage freeze with nurses, health and home care workers, and provincial government employees.
Unless these workers force the government to back down, they could lose about $250 million in two years.* Teachers and professors are specifically excluded from the government's wage "pause."
How far will the NDP go to wrest wages from its lowest-paid workers? Will they lock them out or force them into a costly strike?
The only realistic reply is that a united and militant fight supported by the whole Labour movement - by all workers - can and will defeat this plan by a government that would crush the sisters and brothers who most deserve a wage hike. United, the workers will never be defeated.
The problem has added importance because of capitalism's grave economic crisis. Concessions to the wealthy elite will only deepen and prolong the crisis for workers.
Below, the Communist Party explains why workers must unite and fight to defeat this anti-working class attack.
Leader, Communist Party of Canada - Manitoba
* About $85 million this year and double that next year. Annual inflation in Manitoba was 2.25% in the four years before 2009.
PS. Instead of targeting the lowest-paid workers, the NDP government should lower the salaries of MLAs and, say, the top 5% civil service earners down to the average worker's wage.
* * * *
Subject: Block the NDP attack on Manitoba public sector workers
Released in advance of the budget.
Communist Party of Canada
387 Selkirk Ave.
Winnipeg MB R2W 2M3
(204) 586-7824 - email@example.com
Block the NDP attack on Manitoba public sector workers
Statement of the Manitoba Committee, Communist Party of Canada
March 23, 2010
After handing out hundreds of millions of dollars to corporations by cutting their taxes, the Manitoba NDP government is attacking public sector workers - government employees and nurses - with a threat to impose a wage freeze, layoffs or unpaid days off.
If any group should pay for the expected provincial budget deficit, it is the corporations which have benefited from many years of NDP largesse.
An injury to one is an injury to all. The Labour movement must resist now or face more serious attacks later on.
The number one rule of a working class party, including the NDP which calls itself a labour party, ought to be never attack your base, the workers. This is more than a monumental mistake by the Manitoba NDP government; it is an injury to workers that will be remembered for many years.
We need to remember the harm and sense of betrayal experienced by workers when past NDP governments imposed wage cuts and freezes, including when the Ontario NDP created the infamous Rae Days and broke public sector collective agreements in the 1990s.
Unsurprisingly, the Manitoba NDP’s fortunes are falling in the public opinion polls. The Manitoba NDP is bowing down to the wealthy, the banks and the corporations, attacking the workers while helping the capitalists.
According to many statistical surveys, wages for working class families have essentially been frozen for nearly three decades, while the handful of people who own the large corporations have seen their incomes skyrocket.
The plan to cap wages or impose layoffs just adds insult to injury.
The plan is harmful because it divides workers along public and private sector lines.
Many public sector workers do not earn high wages, yet the Manitoba NDP is trying to sell the idea that these workers can afford to cut wages more than workers in the private sector.
Why does the plan exclude teachers and professors from the wage cap? The Manitoba NDP is imposing the wage cap on home, health care and other low income workers. But it is only cautioning school boards and other agencies to stop giving increases to teachers and professionals.
By attacking wages instead of bloated corporate profits, the Manitoba NDP is sending a clear signal to all employers that it is acceptable to freeze all workers wages.
The Labour movement must stand up to the bullying and resist this attack. In the Fall of 2008, the Harper government raised an idea similar to a wage cap by proposing to ban the right to strike in the public sector.
The Harper government was almost toppled because of the massive protests outside Parliament led by the Labour movement. There should be the same outrage in the Labour movement and by all workers in Manitoba, in the public and private sector, in small and large shops, by workers in unions and by those who are not organized.
The Manitoba NDP must back down, not the workers.
Information: Darrell Rankin, Leader
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