Alberta asking 24,000 government staff to take pay cut in latest bargaining

EDMONTON — The Alberta government is asking about 24,000 unionized workers, including sheriffs and social workers, to take a pay cut as part of a new collective agreement.

The government is currently negotiating a new four-year deal with the workers who also include administration and health support staff and conservation officers.

The 24,000 were among those workers awarded a one per cent pay hike in arbitration last month under the existing agreement, and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees calls the rollback proposal an act of revenge.

The AUPE says the government is asking for a one per cent cut in the first year of the deal, followed by wage freezes for the next three.

The union says the government is also seeking rollbacks on the salary grid and cuts to overtime and other premium pay provisions, while the union is seeking wage increase of 2.5 per cent per year.

Finance Minister Travis Toews says Alberta public sector workers are getting paid on average more than other jurisdictions, and that pay must be reduced to balance the budget and improve service.

The current collective bargaining agreement expires March 31.

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