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AUPE and government square off

November 17, 2020 Cory Hare, ATA News Managing Editor


Union reacts to finance minister’s proposal of wage rollbacks

The union representing more than 90,000 public-sector workers is considering a bad-faith bargaining complaint after the government announced that it is now seeking a four per cent wage rollback after initially seeking a one per cent rollback.

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) says this latest offer is “an escalation” of the employer’s opening proposal of a one-per-cent rollback followed by three years of zeroes.

“Our members have literally kept government running during this crisis, but the UCP rewards them by attacking them,” said AUPE vice-president Kevin Barry.

Barry criticized the government’s move to reduce the corporate tax rate at a cost of nearly $5 billion.

“It is becoming clearer every day that this government does not work for Albertans. It works only for big corporations,” he said.

Negotiations between the union and government resumed Nov. 5 after an eight-month delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a Nov. 6 news release announcing the offer, Finance Minister Travis Toews described it as “fair and reasonable.”

“The mandate presented to the union reflects the province’s current economic and fiscal reality. The government is asking unionized public service employees to be part of the solution, as we face the worst economic crisis in nearly a century. ❚


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