A freeze of provincial workers’ salaries is a sign of the government’s economic reality, but it won’t dissuade Alberta teachers from discussing compensation at the bargaining table, says Alberta Teachers’ Association president Mark Ramsankar.
Finance Minister Joe Ceci announced Jan. 13 that provincial employees who are not covered by collective agreements will be subject to a two-year salary freeze. The move will affect about 7,000 workers, mostly in management positions, and save the government $28.5 million in each of the two years.
Ceci said during his news conference that it was a hard decision.
“To maintain stability and protect jobs within the public service we must deal with the economic realities we are facing,” he said.
As the Association enters a bargaining year, Ramsankar agreed that the government is dealing with the reality of its current fiscal situation, but he added that teachers still expect to have open and honest discussions.
“Conditions of practice and compensation will be discussed because that is what you discuss at the bargaining table,” he said.
“I have assurance from the government that there won’t be interference in the bargaining process.” ❚