03/01/2012 04:00 EST | Updated 04/30/2012 05:12 EDT

Public sector unions to take part in 'day of action' today, warn of job cuts

OTTAWA - Public sector unions have scheduled a "day of action" for today to protest what they warn could be widespread job cuts across the country.

The planned demonstrations come a day after Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced he will unveil the next federal budget March 29.

Federal unions have warned for weeks that ten of thousands of jobs are about to be axed.

Flaherty says he's a little mystified at some of the speculation he's read. He says the numbers being floated are "outrageous" and he has no idea where the unions have come up with their information.

But Flaherty also says the recession cost workers in the private sector their jobs and he believes the Canadian public expects the government to balance the budget.

He says federal workers have been protected throughout the economic crisis so it's "realistic" that the government ask the public service to participate in "belt-tightening."

The budget will come out just days before the start of the 2012-2013 fiscal year, which begins April 1.

Ottawa has been warning that it could try to cut spending by $4 billion a year to help get the budget balanced.