NDP Condemns Pallister Wage Freeze and Interference in Hydro

October 23, 2020

Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg MB — A letter obtained by the Official Opposition Manitoba NDP show the Pallister government is again interfering in Manitoba Hydro and demanding Hydro workers to accept a wage freeze for the next two years, using the excuse of the pandemic.

“The Pallister government is using the cover of a pandemic to attack Hydro workers’ right to collectively bargain their wage,” said Manitoba Hydro critic Adrien Sala. “Not only do they continue to break off and sell pieces of Hydro in an effort to privatize, they are interfering in Hydro’s operations to force an unconstitutional wage freeze on thousands of workers. The government should stop its privatization agenda and stop interfering in Hydro’s operations.”

In June 2020, the Manitoba government demanded hundreds of layoffs at Hydro, only backing down in the face of public opposition. Since then, Hydro’s most recent forecast projects a profit of $51 million dollars in 2020/21, following a $100 million dollar profit the previous year.

The NDP also revealed that the Government is seeking a Fairness Monitor for the RFP process for rural broadband services – a telling admission by the Pallister Government that there are serious and ongoing concerns about the impartiality and fairness of this project.

“Brian Pallister continues to use this pandemic to force cuts to our Crown Corporations jobs and wages. Hydro workers and their families are already struggling to make ends meet in the middle of a public health crisis, and this will make it harder to recover from the economic recession in Manitoba. Hydro’s own CEO is on record that none of the savings from cuts ordered by the Premier go to help fight the pandemic. The Premier needs to halt his interference in Hydro, and come to the table to listen to workers. We’ll continue to fight to keep Hydro public and to keep good quality jobs for all Manitobans,” added NDP Leader Wab Kinew.