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Arbitrator decides some Alberta public sector workers will get raise; UCP says job cuts possible

Provincial government engaged in ‘wage war’ with nurses, public sector workers: NDP
WATCH (Oct. 31): NDP Leader Rachel Notley accused the provincial government of engaging in a “wage war” with nurses as well as public sector workers in Alberta in light of proposed wage cuts, saying “they aren’t bargaining in good faith.”

Alberta’s largest public sector union says an independent arbitrator has awarded some of its members a raise instead of rollbacks requested by the government.

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees says government workers will receive a one per cent wage raise for 2019, as will members employed by Alberta Health Services in general support services.

However, the arbitrator ruled that auxiliary nursing care members will not get an increase.

READ MORE: Alberta UCP asking arbitrators to cut public service pay by 2%

Union president Guy Smith says the arbitrator rejected the government’s claim that Alberta’s public-sector workers are overpaid.

Finance Minister Travis Toews says the arbitration ruling will cost $35 million and will further challenge the government as it works to cut spending.

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Toews says the government will have to look at other cost savings, including adjustments to workforce levels.

READ MORE: Alberta budget 2019 includes cuts to cities, civil servants, universities

Smith says the union will now focus on a new round of bargaining with the province.

In November, the government sent a letter to the union saying jobs are guaranteed until the end of March, but beginning April 1, the government will use all options available to meet its
priorities.

Large crowd gathers in Edmonton to discuss potential cuts to Alberta’s public sector workforce
Large crowd gathers in Edmonton to discuss potential cuts to Alberta’s public sector workforce