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Roger Melanson waves after being sworn-in as New Brunswick's minister of finance as Premier Brian Gallant applauds in Fredericton on Tuesday, October 7, 2014.Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

Hundreds of public service employees staged a noisy protest today at the New Brunswick legislature, demanding the government back off on many of its austerity measures.

The group included teachers fighting job cuts, and hospital workers upset over plans to privatize some services.

The Liberal government recently announced it was negotiating with a private company for the operation of food and cleaning services in the hospitals.

Norma Robinson, the president of the New Brunswick Council of Hospital Unions says New Brunswickers won't stand for the privatization of services and will lobby their representatives in the legislature to leave the services as is.

But Finance Minister Roger Melanson says the province needs to find savings in order to eliminate a structural deficit of $400 million per year and start reducing the debt.

Former Tory health minister Hugh Flemming was cheered when he said his former government looked at the idea of privatizing services, but rejected it.