The Alberta government’s recent announcement that it plans to bring in legislation to restrict the pensions of provincial employees is an overly aggressive, and unneeded, approach to a pension problem it says hasn’t even arisen yet, Unifor’s Western Director says.
“Pensions are built through years of negotiations. Alberta employees have given up other gains in the past to build their pensions to where they are today,” Unifor Western Director Scott Doerty said. “To unilaterally cut pensions today flies in the face of that tradition.”
The provincial government last week said it plans to limit contribution levels, cap pension improvements until 2021, cut cost of living increases in government pensions as a way of curtailing its own costs.
Finance Minister Doug Horner’s own admission, “there is no crisis today” in Alberta’s government pensions. That means there is time for the government to sit down with its unions, including Unifor, to ensure the long-term strength of the pensions, Doherty said.
“Today’s pensions are the consumer dollars of tomorrow,” Doherty said. “Not only should all workers be able to retire with dignity, it’s just good economics to make sure that when they do retire they’ll have enough of an income to keep spending and contributing to the economy.”
Doherty said Unifor is ready to sit down any time to discuss pensions.