According to the AUPE, the government is looking to outsource maintenance works at four facilities, including the Michener Centre South in Red Deer. (File photo from Facebook)

Town of Ponoka workers demand ‘fair contract,’ says AUPE

Workers at the Town of Ponoka are disappointed by the town’s latest contract proposal, says the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees.

Following a drawn-out negotiating process, which has been going for the past two and a half years, the town is offering the workers a five-year contract with two years of zero salary increases followed by three years with a one per cent pay raise, according to the AUPE.

“It’s just insulting,” said Bonnie Gostola, vice-president of the AUPE, which represents workers at the Town of Ponoka.

“Many of these workers have been with the Town of Ponoka for a long time. Is this how we thank them?”

Town workers will attend the next council meeting on Tuesday to raise concerns with about bargaining. Gostola will also be present.

“The town has raised taxes and utility costs, which their employees also have to pay, in the midst of runaway inflation driving up the cost of living,” said Gostola.

“If wages don’t keep up, these workers will struggle to make ends meet.”

The town council is also refusing increases to benefits, the AUPE said, while workers are asking for improvements to put them closer to parity with the managers, whose benefit packages are sometimes double those of the workers.

“Enough is enough. It’s time for the Town to settle a fair contract for their employees,” Gostola said.

“They have worked hard to keep Ponoka running during the pandemic, and they deserve recognition.”

The council meeting, which workers will be attending, takes place at the Civic Centre Building. It begins at 7 p.m. on the third floor, in the council chambers.

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