Unions mobilizing to fight government

News release

Unions mobilizing to fight government

Labour groups say cuts will hurt all British Columbians

B.C. labour groups are not going to be quiet about the Liberal government’s cuts to the province’s public service.

In Burnaby, over 200 union representatives including a large HEU delegation, attended a meeting where B.C. Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair outlined long-term plans to fight the Liberal government.

“This is not just about cuts to public services,” said Sinclair. “This is an all-out attack on organized labour. What the Liberals are attempting to do is turn back the clock — undoing the work of decades of progress made by working people in this province.”

Two large demonstrations are already planned: the first on Jan. 25 to tell provincial premiers that Canadians do not want to see Medicare dismantled or privatized. And thousands more are expected to rally on Feb. 23 in front of the B.C. Legislature — and simultaneously around the province on budget day.

Meanwhile, impromptu rallies were held across the province at government offices today, as workers react to the announcement of public service cuts.

At their Broadway headquarters, B.C. Government Employees’ Union members listened to BCGEU president George Heyman vow that his union will protect its members and work to defeat this government’s plans that benefit only the wealthy.

BCGEU members cheered as several HEU staff members marched into their meeting. “The Hospital Employees’ Union is with you in your fight,” HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt told the BCGEU members. “This is an attack against all British Columbians — both workers and against our society’s most vulnerable members.”

“No more cuts,” chanted the large contingent as it left the building in pouring rain and marched to the nearby office of the Ministry of Human Resources. BCGEU member Wendy Lawrence, a worker with the ministry, asked Gordon Campbell, “If not us, who will take care of the seniors in this province? If not us, who will take care of the province’s children?”