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Numbers-based or needs-based attrition for Newfoundland and Labrador civil service?

NDP MHA Jim Dinn speaks to reporters Wednesday outside the House of Assembly.
NDP MHA Jim Dinn speaks to reporters Wednesday outside the House of Assembly. - David Maher

NDP wants details of government’s 2015 plan to cut public-sector employees

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

New Democratic Party MHA Jim Dinn says he’s not sure the provincial government’s attrition plan is working for those on the front lines.

Dinn says he’s worried about workers in health care and education, who are burning out due to low staffing. Dinn says he wants to make sure public-service positions are being eliminated if there is less need for the service, not just to reduce spending.

“From our point of view, if you’re going to talk about attrition … you’re looking at a numbers-based approach, which this seems to be, or you look at a needs-based approach to staffing,” said Dinn.

“The concern that we have is, what analysis is there?”

Finance Minister Tom Osborne speaks to reporters Wednesday outside the House of Assembly.
Finance Minister Tom Osborne speaks to reporters Wednesday outside the House of Assembly.

Dinn says nurses, for example, are worried about burnout.

“If the needs are going up, are we then hiring staff to meet those needs? If we’re talking about attrition, then I’ve got to wonder if there’s actually a needs-based approach to this,” said Dinn.

Finance Minister Tom Osborne says the point of the attrition plan is to reduce the overall public service without affecting services offered by the government.

The Tories introduced their attrition plan in 2015. The Liberals were first hesitant to continue that plan, but later released their own attrition plan, aiming for a six per cent reduction.

An update on whether the government will hit that number in this year’s budget is forthcoming from the Department of Finance.

Osborne says the needs of each department are considered when deciding which positions will be removed.

“What we've been doing is, as people retire … some of them, most of them, in fact, are replaced. But we do look at positions to determine what positions are no longer needed or those responsibilities can be redistributed,” he said in the House of Assembly.

“So most of the individuals that retire from the province, the positions are replaced.”

The 2015 plan is intended to reduce government expenses by $300 million over five years.

Twitter: @DavidMaherNL


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