The NSGEU has received the first round of documents from various government departments in response to the “Operation FOIPOP” project that was started on September 14th. One of our first requests, asking for details of the government’s Program Review process, has come back with a $6,000 cost estimate.
“This lack of disclosure makes us wonder if the government truly is sincere when they say they want to work with unions to find cost savings,” says NSGEU President Joan Jessome.
Since mid-September, the NSGEU has been filing Freedom of Information applications in an effort to obtain information for upcoming rounds of negotiations, as Finance Minister Randy Delorey has called upon unions to get “creative and innovative” within the government’s mandate of “net-zero” bargaining.
“In order for us to be ‘creative and innovative,’ we need a great deal more information than was presented to us at our meeting with Minister Delorey on August 18th,” explains Jessome.
“So, we’re asking for information we need to reach those objectives. Unfortunately, the government is not only refusing to provide us with that information, they’re asking for thousands of dollars in order for us to see it.”
In addition, in response to another request for information on what government would expect unions to give up in exchange for wage increases, we received a one-page response which was entirely redacted.
In the spirit of cooperation and the Premier’s proclaimed “Right to Know Week” at the end of September, we have been formally requesting information we need to work with government to find their desired cost savings from the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner. All of our requests, along with the responses we have received, are posted in full on our website: http://nsgeu.ca/operation-foipop/
President Jessome has been summoned to a further meeting with Minister Delorey this Thursday afternoon, where openness and transparency will be discussed.
The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union represents over 30,000 women and men who provide quality public services Nova Scotian’s count on every day.
For more information, please contact:
Holly Fraughton, NSGEU Communications Officer