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Nurses negotiating committee recommends a two year wage freeze

The group representing Alberta nurses in bargaining with the government have recommended a wage freeze until March 2019.

The group representing Alberta nurses in bargaining with the government have recommended a wage freeze until March 2019.

The negotiating committee for the United Nurses of Alberta has recommended ratifying the recommendations and agreed changes presented by a mediator. They have recommended forming a new collective bargaining agreement with the province. Nurses will vote on the proposed agreement later this month.

If ratified, the agreement would see a two-year wage freeze starting from last year in April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2019. In the third year the nurses would go back to the table for a wage renegotiation and the talks would start on Feb. 15, 2019.

The agreement also extends parental leave from 12 months to 18 months. This includes maternity and paternity leave along with adoption.

Leave will also be introduced for instances of critical illnesses, either that of a child or an adult, the death or disappearance of a child, domestic violence or for a citizenship ceremony.

Payment in lieu of named holidays for part-time and casual employees will increase from 4.8 per cent to 5 per cent.

Requests to transfer to casual status can not be unreasonably denied and provisions will be outlined for casual employees to work on call, only with their agreement.

The two per cent matching of RRSPs can now be contributed to a Tax Free Savings Account instead.

The wage freeze follows an agreement the province struck with the teachers that also saw them go two years without an increase. Although they didn’t negotiate a wage freeze, the teachers included a “me too” contract, which means that if the government negotiates a wage increase with another union, the teachers would receive the same wage increase.

In November, Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci said that he would like to see wage freezes struck with all other unions the province was negotiating with including the nurses and Alberta Union of Provincial Employees.

The United Nurses represent more than 30,000 registered nurses, registered psychiatric nurses and allied health workers.

The recommendations will be presented to United Nurses Associations locals on Jan. 25 in Calgary for formal ratification.

To see the full list of changes visit the United Nurses of Alberta website.

Jennifer Henderson

About the Author: Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2016. She writes about municipal, provincial and federal politics; court and crime; general news and features.
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