Wage settlement imposed for teachers

EDMONTON — The Alberta government is imposing a wage settlement on teachers after months of wrangling over a new formula used to determine salary increases.

he Alberta government is imposing a wage settlement on teachers after months of wrangling over a new formula used to determine salary increases.

Education Minister Dave Hancock says the teachers will get an increase this year of 4.82 per cent — not the nearly six per cent that the union says is justified.

Alberta teachers have a deal with the province that guaranteed five years of labour peace in exchange for making annual wage adjustments based on average earnings in the province.

The deal is tied to the Statistics Canada average weekly earnings index, but the national agency recently changed its method of calculating this figure and that’s where the dispute began.

Under the old formula, this year’s wage increase would have been 4.82 per cent, while the new formula would push the wage hike to 5.99 per cent.

The Alberta Teachers Association says the difference is $23 million, so they are challenging the minister’s ruling and now want to force the contract settlement into arbitration.

Hancock also announced Thursday details of $80 million in cuts to the education budget, but said the teachers’ wage settlement is not part of the cuts.

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