EDMONTON — Alberta's finance minister says the province's health provider wants wages of nurses to be cut by three per cent to help control spending.
Alberta Health Services is asking for the pay cut as part of ongoing contract negotiations with the United Nurses of Alberta.
In a statement, Travis Toews says the province needs to get its finances “back on track” as it moves beyond the pandemic.
The union says a rollback on top of other demands by AHS — including reduced shift and weekend premiums — would result in an overall wage reduction of five per cent.
Toews praises the role of nurses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but says they make 5.6 per cent more than in other provinces used as comparisons.
He says the last 16 months have put a considerable strain on the province, following already high levels of debt and deficit.
“The need to bring wages in line with other large provinces does not diminish our deep respect for the exceptional work and dedication of public sector workers,” he said in his statement Tuesday night.
“It is simply reflective of our fiscal reality, and one that many sectors in the province have experienced.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 7, 2021.
The Canadian Press