June 18th, 2019

Alberta government to bring in bill to alter union wage deals

By The Canadian Press on June 12, 2019.

Travis Toews, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance is sworn into office, in Edmonton on Tuesday April 30, 2019. The Alberta government has served notice it is bringing in legislation to override collective bargaining agreements for thousands of public sector workers in order to delay wage talks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDMONTON – The Alberta government has served notice it will bring in legislation to allow the province to override collective bargaining agreements and delay wage talks for thousands of public-sector workers.

Government house leader Jason Nixon told the legislature the United Conservatives will introduce the bill soon.

Finance Minister Travis Toews has already said he plans to delay contractual binding arbitration on wages for workers, including nurses, conservation officers, peace officers, hospital support staff, administrators and librarians.

The government wants arbitration delayed until a panel submits its report in August on the best way to save money and get Alberta out of a multibillion-dollar budget deficit.

Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley accused Toews during question period today of committing a “gross abuse of power” by using legislation to avoid fulfilling the terms of contracts negotiated in good faith.

Toews replied that the government respects the work of public-sector staff and believes it is doing what’s in the best interests of the province.

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