ATA News Focuses on Premier's Comments on Salary

The January 27 edition of the ATA News includes a number of articles that respond to Premier Jim Prentice's recent comments on public sector salaries. Keep an eye out for it in your schools this week or read more here.

Cutbacks aren’t the answer

ATA president says education system can’t withstand funding cuts

Teachers have already done their part to help the province balance its books, so Premier Jim Prentice needs to look elsewhere for fixes to the fiscal crunch brought about by the tanking of global oil prices.

That’s the message that Alberta Teachers’ Association President Mark Ramsankar is delivering in the wake of public comments by Prentice that he hopes to have “respectful” conversations with public sector unions about the province’s financial situation.

Ramsankar points out that teachers have been living with a three-year salary freeze according to a legislated agreement imposed by former premier Alison Redford and are finally set to get a much-needed raise — of two per cent — in September.

“The premier can’t expect to balance the budget on the backs of teachers,” Ramsankar said. “This isn’t new management; the premier is using the same tricks as Alison Redford.”


Editorial: The more things change ...

The Jan. 23Calgary Herald headline says the premier is warning that Alberta will lose $6 billion in royalties. The premier is quoted as saying, “to put that into context, that’s equivalent to all our government’s spending on education each year.”

That same day, another Herald headline is, “Promise of all-day kindergarten pushed back” and features the education minister stating that the province’s “bleak” financial picture is putting the initiative on hold.

On Jan. 27, a Metro Edmonton headline reports that the premier calls public sector salaries unsustainable, saying, “Doctors and teachers mean an awful lot to us, but at the end of the day we can no longer afford to pay doctors 20 per cent more than they get paid anywhere else in the country.”

That was 2013. This is now:


Q and A: Fiscal focus should be on raising revenue

Question: Premier Jim Prentice has been talking about unsustainable public sector salaries. Is he talking about teachers? What is the ATA doing about this?

Answer: Premier Prentice has made several comments lately about Alberta’s public sector salaries being the highest in Canada and that Alberta’s budget will no longer sustain salaries for its public servants that are the highest in Canada. The statement is very disappointing and is one of a series of “trial balloons” on how the government will proceed given the huge fall in revenue, now projected at around $7 billion in the budget year ahead.


Other ATA News at www.teachers.ab.ca


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