Leaders of five Alberta public employees' unions and the Alberta Federation of Labour are concerned and disappointed by the sweeping changes to public service pension plans proposed this morning by Finance Minister Doug Horner.
If the changes introduced today are implemented, as Horner indicated he is determined to do, the bottom line is that Alberta public employees will have diminished pensions.
Members of Alberta's public service pension plans would have to work longer to retire, and when they retire their benefits will be reduced.
In addition, their retirement incomes will more rapidly fall behind inflation.
The minister himself has conceded, and pension plan actuaries have confirmed, that the pension plans are currently sustainable. There is no need for major cuts to benefits.
Public service union leaders were encouraged that the minister was willing to discuss shared governance of the plan, but believe that any pension benefit changes should be left to the employee and employer representatives to negotiate after shared governance is put in place.
Despite their unhappiness, the leaders of the Alberta Colleges and Institutes Faculties Association, Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Health Sciences Association of Alberta, United Nurses of Alberta and AFL are committed to continued discussions with the government and employers.
Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.289.6528 (cell) or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org