Contentious Alberta labour bill on hold
Bill imposing settlement on government workers was to take effect end of January
A temporary stay has been issued on the implementation of Bill 46, the contentious legislation that would impose a wage settlement on 22,000 government employees at the end of January.
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The stay was issued Tuesday in Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench to allow the judge to write a decision on the injunction requested by the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees.
The temporary injunction is in effect until Feb. 14.
"The way I see it, the hammer is still very firmly over our heads," AUPE president Guy Smith said.
"It's just not going to be dropped as soon as it could have been which could have been as early as the end of this week. So I guess we'll have to see what the judge's ruling is on Feb.14th."
Under Bill 46, AUPE members would be forced to accept a wage settlement with no pay raises for two years if a negotiated settlement isn’t reached by Jan. 31. The bill also takes away the union's right to send disputes to arbitration.
In a news release issued Tuesday night, Deputy Premier Dave Hancock said the government is still prepared to negotiate with the union.
"This will require flexibility at the negotiating table from both parties. We are willing to negotiate anywhere, anytime. I hope the AUPE will meet us at the negotiating table," he said.
Bill 46 was passed in December at the same time as Bill 45, a bill that would increase fines for Alberta unions that strike illegally to $1 million a day.