Plans announced by the provincial government today to keep Albertans working longer are being viewed with concern by the labour movement.
“If Employment and Immigration Minister Thomas Lukaszuk is talking about providing supports and incentives to people who voluntarily choose to work longer, that’s one thing,” says Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL), which represents 140,000 workers. “But if he’s talking about forcing people to work past retirement age against their choice, then he’s going to have a war on his hands. Working Albertans won’t take kindly to having their retirement dreams undermined or taken away.”
McGowan criticized the consultation process that led to today’s announcement, saying it was another example of the government listening to employers, but doing little to seek the opinions of workers.
“It appears there were months of consultations with employers who want to keep their employees working longer, but little consultation with those who will be most affected – the workers themselves,” he says.
“Workers deserve to be able to look forward to retirement security at the end of their careers. The labour shortage must not be used as an excuse to allow employers to weaken retirement and pension policies so that people are forced to keep working by diminishing financial circumstances.”
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Contact: Gil McGowan, president, Alberta Federation of Labour @ 780-218-9888
Terry Inigo-Jones, AFL Communications Officer, 780-910-1137