Alberta government wants 2% wage reduction for public sector workers

Oct 29 2019, 4:16 pm

The government of Alberta is continuing public-sector wage arbitrations on Thursday, with an expected wage reduction of two per cent expected for public sector workers.

While Jason Kenney’s 2019 provincial budget plans were announced last week with a number of cuts to the public sector, Minister of Finance Travis Toews released a statement Tuesday regarding an updated position in regards to the arbitration.

“As promised, 2019 public-sector wage arbitrations will continue after Oct. 31 with an updated monetary mandate that reflects the reality of Alberta’s growing debt and the unacceptable deficit this government inherited,” said Toews.

The revision moves from the previous position of no increase for 2019, to an average two per cent reduction for collective agreements.

“The revised position comes after government took the time to fully assess Alberta’s economic situation, including findings of the MacKinnon panel report, which recommended public-sector wages be brought in line with comparable provinces to correct overspending and sustain high-quality services for Albertans,” said Toews in a release.

The budget, which was presented last Thursday, represents a 7.7% reduction to the public sector over the next four years — through “targeted reductions, mainly through attrition, coupled with restraint in the broader public sector” — to save an estimated $552 million in pay by 2022-2023.

The proposed wage cuts come after a corporate tax cut was announced by Kenney earlier this year.

“We have the highest respect and admiration for Alberta’s public-sector workers, whose dedication helps deliver so many of the vital services Albertans rely on. But we were elected to be responsible stewards of the public’s tax dollars and to get our province’s finances under control,” said Toews.