Alberta Union of Provincial Employees bracing for up to 5,900 government job cuts

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Alberta’s largest public sector union says the government plans to cut up to 5,900 positions as part of its plan to balance the province’s budget by the 2022-23 fiscal year.

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees says the layoffs would affect government and Alberta Health Services employees.

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A letter from the government sent to the union says jobs are guaranteed until March 30, 2020.

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But it says beginning on April 1, the government will use all options available to meet its priorities.

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The letter from the Public Service Commissioner’s Office says the cuts could include jobs and vacant positions.

READ MORE: 250 jobs being eliminated at University of Calgary following 2019 Alberta budget

Union president Guy Smith says members of the AUPE executive will meet next week to determine how it will respond.

“AUPE members have been talking about this possibility for months,” Smith said Friday in a release.

“We have been preparing, rallying and picketing across the province, and building our capacity to stand strong and fight back.”

The union said the government’s plan is devastating news to its members and to all Albertans who rely on public services.

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It said there are still a lot of unknown details.

A posting on the union’s website says members have known cuts and job losses are coming.

“AUPE members know that only mass collective action at the worksite and in support of collective bargaining (which resumes early next year) has the power to fight the cuts,” it says.

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“We must not give in to fear.

“Stay strong. Support each other. Get ready to fight.”

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Smith said the union will hold a news conference on Monday.

Staff at the Public Service Commissioner’s Office could not immediately be reached for comment.

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