Calgary

UCP government staffers to take 7 per cent pay cut

Government staff in the United Conservative Party will be taking a seven per cent pay cut, effective Monday. 

It's part of a larger plan and an effort to show restraint during tough economic times

Jason Kenney's government will cut the pay of its UCP staff by seven per cent, sources say. (The Canadian Press)

Government staff in the United Conservative Party will be taking a seven per cent pay cut, effective Monday. 

CBC News first reported that the premier's office told employees Thursday morning that the salary reductions would be brought in next week. 

The cuts were later confirmed by the premier's office.

Premier Jason Kenney, when asked about the cuts on Thursday, said he anticipates it will save nearly $1 million.

"So it's not a huge savings, but these symbols are important," he said. "You know, we are facing a great fiscal reckoning as a province, and we're going to have to find ways to reduce the cost of government."

The changes will apply to political staff working for the Government of Alberta, including positions like chiefs of staff, press secretaries, advisors and staff in the premier's office. Schedulers and administrative assistants will see no change. 

Sources said the decision is part of larger labour negotiation plans and an effort to demonstrate the government is also willing to take cuts during a challenging economic period for the province. 

NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley said the pay cuts were a distraction from the up to 11,000 jobs that Alberta Health Services will be losing through outsourcing, attrition and layoffs.

"It's a cheap political tactic," she said. 

A letter sent to employees from the premier's chief of staff, Jamie Huckabay, was provided later to CBC News. 

"We will not privilege our financial position while many Albertans are facing hardship," it reads.

The letter points to the fiscal situation in the province as justification for the cuts. 

"This path is unsustainable."

Provincial government revenues have dropped 23 per cent this year, and Alberta faces a deficit of $24 billion, with the debt exceeding $100 billion. 

The premier's office echoed that in a statement. 

"Today's move regarding political staff is an acknowledgement that those of us in government can tighten our belts as well," said Christine Myatt, a spokesperson for the premier.

Kenney has already taken a 10 per cent salary reduction and MLAs have cut five per cent. 

About the Author

Elise von Scheel is a reporter and producer with the CBC's Parliamentary Bureau, currently working in Calgary. You can get in touch with her at elise.von.scheel@cbc.ca.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now