Alberta’s NDP government imposes wage and hiring freezes on public sector
Janet Browning and Roger Jordan
30 December 2017
Alberta’s New Democratic Party (NDP) government is demanding that public sector workers accept a two-year pay freeze in current contract negotiations, coupled with a hiring freeze across all public services.
Claiming that Alberta’s economy is now well on the way to recovering from the 2014 oil-price collapse, provincial Finance Minister and Treasury Board President Joe Ceci declared in a November 28 address that now is the time to pull back purported economic stimulus measures and begin focusing on eliminating the provincial deficit.
He then pointed to the cost-cutting wage agreements the NDP recently reached with the Alberta Teachers’ Association as a down payment. “The Teachers’ agreement,” said Ceci, “was two years of zeros for job stability and investments to help services for kids in those schools. I think that is a wise way to go, and frankly I am hopeful that as we expand our negotiations to other kinds of contracts we will find similar supports there.”
Ceci went on to threaten public sector workers with layoffs if they balk at the government’s austerity demands. “My hope is,” said the NDP Finance Minister, “people will see the benefit of long-term job stability and that (despite their receiving) no raises, they would have their ongoing jobs.”
The NDP froze wages for non-union “excluded” and management provincial staff shortly after it took power in May 2015.
Reinforcing the NDP’s pitch to big business as a fiscally “responsible” party that can be relied upon to defend their profits and maintain an ultra-low tax regime while balancing the provincial budget, Ceci declared, “We will carefully find…