Alberta health care support workers presented with four per cent wage cut during collective bargaining

EDMONTON — The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) says general support services workers were presented with a four per cent wage cut by Alberta Health Services (AHS) at the bargaining table.

In a statement, the union said the four per cent wage cut was presented to the bargaining team Thursday. According to AUPE, the wage cut would be applied immediately once the agreement is ratified and that general support services staff would have three years of zero per cent wage increases.

General support services staff work in cleaning and environmental services, food services, laundry, lab work, supply chain and purchasing, long-term care, and protective services.

“It is indecent and obscene,” said Susan Slade, AUPE vice president for the south region, in a statement.

“Everyone knows Premier Kenney and Health Minister Shandro have no respect for front-line health care workers, even after everything they’ve done for us during the pandemic, and here we see AHS following their orders to add insult to injury,” Slade added.

Slade said general support services workers are often the lowest paid AHS employees and usually work multiple jobs since they frequently are scheduled for part-time or casual shifts.

Negotiations for general support services workers were suspended twice by AHS due to the COVID-19 pandemic, despite AUPE wanting to go ahead with the bargaining process.

AHS initially proposed a one per cent wage cut in February last year. Their collective agreement expired on March 31, 2020.

CTV News Edmonton reached out to both AHS and Treasury Board and Finance.

The province proposed a three per cent wage reduction for Alberta nurses last week when it resumed collective agreement negotiations.

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