03/08/2013 01:25 EST | Updated 05/08/2013 05:12 EDT

Newfoundland civil servants told no more job layoffs until after budget

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The Newfoundland and Labrador government says 167 civil servants have been told their jobs will be cut as part of its efforts to rein in spending.

Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy says while unionized workers may be bumped from their jobs in the coming weeks, there will be no more layoffs until the budget is delivered this spring.

The layoffs come as the province grapples with an anticipated deficit of $726 million this year.

Kennedy says it's impossible to reduce spending without cutting the 9,000-member public service because salaries and employee benefits make up about 55 per cent of the government's expenditures.

Other measures such as a hiring freeze and early retirement packages have also been implemented.