Volume 91, Issue 94

Thursday, March 26, 1998

Belushi goes west


Campaign against gov't jobs

By Caroline Greene
Gazette Staff

While the White House may not be the best place for aspiring young interns, the Canadian government may not be the best place for bright university graduates to work for other reasons.

A campaign by the Professional Institute of the Public Service, a union representing thousands of civil servants, is telling students to think twice about working for the government.

"This is an employer that has shown disregard for its employees," said Steve Hindle, president of the union. It has not compensated its employees adequately compared to the private sector, it has not offered career opportunities and it has eliminated 55,000 positions, he said.

The campaign is a result of the union's frustration at the bargaining table with the federal government. It is expressing its dissatisfaction and Hindle said if things don't work out well, there is potential for a strike.

Canadian Government Treasury Board President Marcel Masse, however, was not pleased with the union's initiative. He was upset a public union would spend money to criticize and attack the public service, said Jean Lapierre, Masse's press secretary.

But Hindle said there are still a lot of bright, talented people in public service working with far fewer resources and service is being affected.

Hindle said he fears young people will not be attracted to public service jobs and believes the government must demonstrate it is taking steps toward improvement. "The public sector is one of the basic underpinnings of the whole structure in the country."

However, Lapierre said now that the federal government is in a sound budgetary and fiscal situation and as older public servants begin to retire, there will be more opportunities. "The government needs young, competent people with new technologies, theories, marketing skills and knowledge."

Sharon Lee, coordinator of student employment services at Western's student development centre, said the bigger picture has to be looked at. The private and public sectors are not that different – both have had to down-size, she said.

The workplace is constantly changing and students must see those changes, said Lee. She added there is a more positive outlook for students finding jobs now than there was just three years ago with many new jobs evolving – even in the public sector.

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Copyright The Gazette 1998