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New era for public sector bargaining in Alberta

The Government of Alberta plans to reform the approach to bargaining with public sector unions.

As the primary funder of Alberta’s public sector and as an employer, the Government will be developing a co-ordinated and disciplined long-term approach to funding for public sector bargaining that is fair, consistent and respectful of both workers and taxpayers.

A Working Group led by Alberta Justice and Solicitor General Deputy Minister Tim Grant will hold discussions with other public sector employers in the province.

The group will review best practices in other jurisdictions and will present recommendations on how to revitalize and modernize the province’s approach to labour negotiations.

Recent negotiations have led to settlements that have increased costs significantly. In fact, public sector salaries in Alberta are scheduled to increase by $2.6 billion over the next three years alone.

“This is about getting our own house in order and improving how we bargain. As public servants, we are all paid out of the same purse. At times, bargaining is conducted as though there are different owners of that purse when, in reality, there is only one: the Alberta taxpayer.”

Jim Prentice, Premier

The Working Group will examine how to:

  • establish a disciplined, collaborative, long-term approach to public sector bargaining, including defining roles and responsibilities;
  • achieve fair settlements for public sector employees that are consistent with the government’s fiscal goals;
  • make accurate, objective market data available to bargaining teams in a timely fashion, including the costs of proposals; and
  • promote labour stability and the protection of public services.

Grant will report to the Deputy Minister of Executive Council Richard Dicerni and Premier Prentice in four months.

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