Finance Minister Travis Toews (The Canadian Press)

Opening proposal: Alberta wants 24,000 government staff to take pay cut

The 24,000 employees also include administration and support staff as well as conservation workers

Alberta is asking about 24,000 government staff, including sheriffs and social workers, to take a pay cut in their next contract — something their union says is being done out of spite.

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees says the province’s opening proposal is for a one per cent wage cut in the first year followed by a three-year wage freeze.

The workers were awarded a one per cent pay increase in arbitration a week ago under current agreements.

“This is an act of revenge, not a rational argument,” AUPE president Guy Smith said Friday in a statement.

“An independent arbitrator ruled only last week that (these government) workers deserved a one per cent raise and that there was no economic justification to cut pay.

“Yet here we see the government punishing us for getting that minimal raise by seeking to take it away immediately.”

The 24,000 employees also include administration and support staff as well as conservation workers.

Their current contract expires March 31.

The union says the United Conservative government also is seeking rollbacks on the salary grid and cuts to overtime and other premium pay provisions.

The union is seeking wage increases of 2.5 per cent per year to keep pace with inflation.

Finance Minister Travis Toews said hard choices must be made.

“The proposal aligns with government’s commitment to Albertans to correct Alberta’s overspending problem so available tax dollars can be reinvested into high-quality services,” Toews said in a statement.

“Public-sector wages account for more than half of government expenses. The facts are clear across many occupations in the public service: wages are significantly higher than those in other large provinces.

“Workers also enjoy compensation benefits that are not found in, or significantly more generous than, contracts in other provinces.”

Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley noted the arbitration award was the product of an independent assessment.

“The government’s attempt to claw that back now goes around the independence and the fairness of the arbitration process.”

Toews said last week that the one per cent boost awarded by the arbitrator will cost the province $35 million, so the government will have to save money elsewhere to make up for the raises. He said that could include potential job losses.

In November, the government sent a letter to the AUPE that said union jobs would be guaranteed until the end of March, but the government would use all options available to meet its priorities after that.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

Employment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Town council holds a busy Feb. 24th meeting

Two new bylaws were introduced and the issue of sea cans in residential zones was discussed

PHOTO: Congratulations to Percy Farebrother for skipping his rink to victory at the Castor Men’s Bonspiel

‘All enjoyed wonderful food and the best curling ice in the country’

Town of Castor receives Coronation RCMP Detachment acting commander as delegation during Feb. 24th meeting

Cpl. Chad Salmi came to introduce himself as well as to see what priorities council had for the RCMP

Fashion Fridays: Tammy’s big makeover

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

UPDATED: Racist slurs lead to school hold and secure at Ponoka school

Ermineskin Cree Nation Chief Makinaw responds

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Courts to decide regarding Ponoka County’s north-west area structure plan

Ponoka Right To Farm Society versus Ponoka County

Canada prepared to monitor for community spread of COVID-19: Tam

The U.S. confirmed one case of the new coronavirus, or COVID-19, in California Thursday

11-year-old Sylvan Lake burn survivor using his story to inspire others

Kaden Howard was recently named the 2020 Champion Child for the Stollery in Edmonton

Conservative MP questions whether rail blockades constitute terrorism

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett travelled to B.C. to meet Indigenous leaders

Lawsuit over African mine can be heard in British Columbia: Supreme Court

B.C. courts dismissed Nevsun’s attempts to make Eritrea the forum for any lawsuit proceedings

MPs to examine privacy implications of facial-recognition technology used by RCMP

The MPs will look at how the technology affects the privacy, security and safety of children

Most Read