A proposed two-year wage freeze led more than half of Manitoba’s over 14,000 provincial government employees to reject an new collective agreement on voting that was completed on January 20.
The wage freeze would have been tempered by 2.75 per cent increases in the final two years of the four-year agreement, and by a no-layoff guarantee. But, according to the union, workload was also an issue, with many government positions going unfilled and being covered by other employees.
The Manitoba Government and General Employees Union (MGEU) has asked the province to return to the bargaining table as soon as possible.
And, on January 20, talks between the Government of Alberta and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) reached an impasse. According to the AUPE, Alberta’s 22,000 civil servants are “unappreciated and undervalued.” The government, it charges, is refusing to deal with workloads, understaffing and threats of cuts and rollbacks.
According to AUPE negotiator Jim Petrie, the union is looking at “all other options,” including mediation, arbitration or “other avenues.”
With Premier Ed Stelmach’s abrupt resignation, it seems unlikely that a new negotiating position will be forthcoming from the province and, when it does, it seems equally unlikely that it will be more conciliatory that Stelmach’s.