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Alberta cabinet agrees to take 5% wage cut

WATCH ABOVE: Alberta Premier Jim Prentice says cabinet agreed to voluntarily take a five per cent wage reduction.

EDMONTON – Alberta Premier Jim Prentice said Thursday that cabinet agreed to voluntarily take a five per cent wage reduction in light of the province’s economic situation.

The premier said the wage cut would come into effect Feb. 1.

“It’s important we show leadership,” said Prentice.

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All MLAs will also be asked to take the pay cut and that decision will go to committee next week.

Prentice said if every member takes the pay cut, it would result in about $600,000 in savings.

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How Alberta cabinet, premier and MLA salaries would be impacted by 5% pay cut. Source: Government of Alberta
How Alberta cabinet, premier and MLA salaries would be impacted by 5% pay cut. Source: Government of Alberta Tonia Huynh, Global News

The premier will see a reduction of $10,887 cut. Cabinet ministers will give up $10,050, and MLAs – should they accept the cut – will lose $6,700.

READ MORE: Deficits needed to solve oil crisis: Prentice 

Prentice was asked if this announcement is meant to set the stage for potential roll-backs for public sector or civil service workers.

“It’s not intended in that way, but I’ve made it very clear that we’re in this together.

“There has to be burden-sharing.

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“We’re hearing very clearly from Albertans that they expect government to tighten its belt,” said Prentice.

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“They know that they have to shoulder some share of this responsibility because 17 per cent of the government’s revenue has essentially evaporated overnight.”

After hearing about the pay announcement, the Alberta Teachers Association told Global News teachers have done their part by taking zero per cent increases over three years. The association added the premier should look at a progressive income tax before asking public servants to take less pay.

The Wildrose interim leader said the wage cuts are a good start, but don’t go far enough. Heather Forsyth thinks cabinet members’ pay should be reduced by 30 per cent and MLAs’ pay by eight per cent.

“Wildrose brought forward a motion [in 2012] to do this, and that motion was rejected by many of the same members of the PC caucus supporting this change today. I intend to bring forward this motion again at the Members’ Services Committee meeting on Feb. 4.”

“While my Wildrose colleagues and I welcome any cut to cabinet minister pay, I’m disappointed Premier Prentice chose not to take real action in addressing the bloated compensation packages Cabinet Ministers receive,” she said.

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