Alberta’s Abusive Bill 9
The Alberta Kenny government passed Bill 9, the Public Sector Wage Arbitration Deferral Act on June 28.
Bill 9 unilaterally tears up provisions in the collective agreements covering 180,000 Alberta public sector workers. The workers and their union the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees did not give their consent to the changes and have organized widespread opposition to the government’s action. Bill 9 is a concern for workers across Canada.
The Kenny government is targeting the clauses in the agreements that require arbitration on wages to begin at latest by last June 30. Bill 9 delays the start of arbitration on wages so that his government can put in place legislation dictating public sector wages without negotiations or the consent of public sector workers. All this is being done in contravention of the signed contracts negotiated in good faith with public sector unions, which were accepted by both the previous government and workers.
Many workers have commented that while public sector workers are the specific target of Bill 9, the unilateral changing of a collective agreement is a general attack on the working class and its right to a say and control over wages, conditions of work and their living standards generally. Bill 9 at the very least violates workers’ right to negotiate terms of employment and to have those terms upheld in a climate of equilibrium and not arbitrariness and dictate.