Alberta Premier Jim Prentice looks to overhaul bargaining with civil servants

WATCH ABOVE: Premier Jim Prentice is taking steps to overhaul how the province negotiates with public sector workers.

EDMONTON – Alberta Premier Jim Prentice is looking to overhaul how the province bargains with public-sector workers and to review legislation that prevents civil servants from striking.

Prentice has announced a group that is to come up with a collective bargaining approach that avoids lucrative, one-off settlements based on immediate pressures.

He also says a recent Supreme Court decision affirming the right to strike means Alberta needs to review a ban on public-sector walkouts that dates back to the Peter Lougheed era.

READ MORE: Looming Alberta budget cuts have union leaders fearful of what’s to come 

Prentice says new dispute resolution will be based on essential-services models already in place in other provinces.

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Federation president Gil McGowan says a similar model has poisoned labour relations in B-C.

The premier has said that low oil prices have blown a $7-billion revenue hole in the province’s upcoming budget.

He has promised to honour existing contracts with workers, but has also warned that Alberta can no longer afford civil servants who are paid some of the highest rates in the country.

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McGowan argues the wages civil servants get are fair, despite comments from the premier that they’re the main cause of Alberta’s financial woes.

Premier @JimPrentice says on labour negotiations, previous regimes have lacked foresight and coherence. #ableg — Thomasean Vernon (@TomVernonGlobal) March 2, 2015

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. @JimPrentice says he also wants a new approach to dispute resolution with unions, including a conversation about essential services.

— Thomasean Vernon (@TomVernonGlobal) March 2, 2015

With files from Global News


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