Troubling Times

Thursday, August 27, 2009
Oh goodness, the financial news just keeps getting worse. At least here in Alberta. The government, which is pretty much entirely dependent on oil/gas revenues, is expecting a $6.9 billion (yes billion with a B) budget deficit this year. Eeeeek! That will teach them to get rid of health care premiums. Departments are being told to cut back everywhere they can and that their individual budgets for next year will be drastically reduced. They've instituted a hiring freeze government wide here in Alberta so if you're considering a career as a public might want to reconsider. At least for the next couple of years.

While there has been no announcement about layoffs, I'm sure it's on the minds of a huge number of government employees and flashbacks to previous troubled times where employees had to take paycuts will cause many folks to have more than one sleepless night. The other day, one of the local news stations was running around the Legislature grounds trying to interview public sector workers regarding a rumor going around about the government possibly forcing workers to take unpaid holiday days similar to what Governor Schwarzenegger did in California. Again, there has been no announcement of this but I don't remember it solving California's financial problems so I'm hoping that Alberta's "Steady Eddie" doesn't take the idea too seriously. At a time when employees have just received notice that their pension contributions will be going up (and not a small amount either) starting in the new year, the news that they'll have to also take unpaid time off will not go over well.

I have a number of opinions regarding the situation that I cannot, because of my job, air here unless I'd like to begin working at McDonalds in the very near future... however, your suggestions are always welcome.


tweetey30 said...

Its like here they were trying to figure out how to keep Mercury going. The car company and not shutting that down and more jobs out the window. They are laying off half of our ship builders in Door County about an hour from me. They build the big ships that go over sea and such. So much going on and its scary really.

Heather said...

Our mass layoffs are supposed to be happening soon - imminent if not already ongoing.

I was rather non-plussed to see the pension increases. I haven't been able to figure out just how much that will be for me (read: have not wanted to figure out how much that will be for me), but I suspect it will be a wallop. I hope the pension plan is there when you and I are old enough to use it.

nwtrunner said...

Karen - here in NWT we went through the mandatory leave days and the increased pension paymens years ago - and it's actually worked out pretty good.

Compared to most people on the planet - those of us in Canada working for the public service are still doing pretty good!

And if I worry too much - I just go for a run! A walk works too. Stop and smell the roses along the way :-)

sp said...

I get very nervous when I hear about governments considering "forcing" workers to accept anything like pay cuts. It sounds very undemocratic to me. Scary stuff.

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