Public service unions come together to ask Sask. government to follow recommendations

Unions representing 113,000 workers within the province are coming together to ask for protection for vital services.

The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) , Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN), Saskatchewan Teachers Federation (STF), Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union (SGEU), and the Service Employees International Union West (SEIU-West) collectively called on the provincial government to mandate the recommendations of Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab.

The measures that the group is looking for the Saskatchewan government implement include, limiting gathering sizes to ten people or less, limiting the frequency of gatherings and establishing a “bubble”, limitations on non-work & non-school contacts and limiting non-essential travel between communities.

The group says the failure of installing these measures will lead to a strain on staffing and services in the education, health care and public services within Saskatchewan. The group noted they have all fielded calls within their sector of employees beginning to feel burnt out.

Tracy Zambory, President of SUN says the groups are feeling the effect of a wait and see approach from the government. “We know it didn’t work in the fourth wave but somehow we were going to be able to manage that in the fifth and that has shown itself to be a very effective strategy.”

President of the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation, Patrick Maze says that teachers in the province prioritize in person learning, but says the education system is bound to feel the effects of the Omicron variant. “When there is such rampant community spread as we are seeing now, it is impossible to keep that from impacting our schools and student learning. This is already true for some of our schools where they have been forced to move to temporary online learning to address staffing issues and unmanageable case numbers.”

The group of unions is hoping Premier Scott Moe and the government hear their inquiries before staffing and services within the public service are not past the crisis point that it could soon be facing.

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