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Be careful what you ask for

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The Alberta government is proposing a two-to five-per-cent wage roll back for all employees which includes both union and non-union employees. I know this isn’t great news, but I suggest you accept it and move on. I know – I’ve been there. When Premier Klein made his cuts in the early 1990s, I was a non-union government employee, and yes, the prospect of having less take-home pay was discouraging, but the alternative would have been much more devastating.

With today's government employment numbers at about 115,000 employees, a one-per-cent reduction in staff would be about 1,000 employees, and who knows if that would be an equivalent number to meet the targeted financial reduction this government intends to achieve.

The point is, don’t be selfish – you can still live comfortably with a reduction in pay, but living without your job, even until you are able to find another one, will be much more difficult. The employees remaining from a staff reduction will be without a friend and will probably be tasked with a heavier workload to make up for the laid-off coworker. In addition, there is no guarantee who would be looking for a new job because seniority doesn’t count when it comes to layoffs and often the higher paid positions are more attractive to cut since they will save more money. There are probably in excess of four million private sector workers who have had their wages reduced, or have been laid off, or who have seen how devastating it was for their friends who lost their jobs. These people really don’t have much sympathy for those civil servants who have been living the good life the last four years on tax dollars.

So, for all the union members and union leaders crying foul ... be careful what you ask for!

Ken McMorris, St. Albert



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