Why is the Public Service Commission seeking to reduce pay to unionized government workers by 1% and adjust other terms and conditions?
In many cases government workers in Alberta are paid significantly more than peers in other large provinces.
The Public Service Commission is seeking to adjust that so more available tax dollars can be reinvested into high quality services we all rely on.
Government was also clear in Budget 2019 that there was no new money for public sector wage increases.
A recent arbitration award increased pay by 1% for unionized government employees. As budgets are flat, the Public Service Commission is proposing a 1% reduction in the first year of a new collective agreement and then to keep pay flat for the final three years of that agreement.
Adjustment to other terms and conditions of employment
The Government of Alberta is proposing that employees are paid at regular time – rather than overtime – when they travel to courses on a day off.
Currently, government employees are given paid time off from Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day without having to use vacation time. This results in as much as four extra days of vacation above the statutory holidays. The Government of Alberta’s proposal would stop this practice – aligning with every other province.
Shift Differentials and Weekend Premiums
Currently government employees receive much higher pay for working evenings, nights and weekends than other provinces. For example, government employees receive an extra five dollars an hour for every hour worked on a weekend. The next highest jurisdiction pays two dollars extra an hour for every hour worked on a weekend. The Government of Alberta is seeking to bring these shift differentials into line with the average of other provinces.
Flexible Spending Accounts
“Flexible spending accounts” provide extra funds for government employees (i.e. massage, sports activities, etc.) The Government of Alberta proposes to adjust the flexible spending amount to be consistent with other agreements in Alberta.
The current provision for “job security” expires on March 30, 2020. Given the difficult economic circumstances the province now faces, the Government of Alberta requires flexibility to restructure the workforce and adjust staffing levels in order to maintain the high quality services on which Albertans rely.
Contracting of Services
The current agreement does not prevent the Government of Alberta from contracting out services to the private sector. In the last round of negotiations, the AUPE negotiated a consultation process to discuss the contracting of services. The Government of Alberta is proposing to move this to a notice period instead.
Salary and Adjustments
The Government of Alberta is proposing to align salaries for some job classes with comparable rates found in other provinces.
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