"If new attacks on your pension security are launched by the government, we'll mobilize to deal with them." — Gil McGowan, Chair, Alberta Labour Coalition on Pensions.
Edmonton (23 Sept. 2014) — Albertans who have been fighting to protect public pension plans can breathe a sigh of relief this week. Jim Prentice, the new Premier of Alberta, has prorogued the Legislature, and by doing so, killed controversial Bill 9 and Bill 10.
Premier Prentice says he won't reintroduce Bills 9 and 10 when the Legislature returns in November
Workers across the province have been fighting Bill 9, the Public Sector Pension Plans Amendment Act, and Bill 10, the Employment Pension (Private Sector) Plans Amendment Act, which were introduced by the previous Conservative government. The government had launched a full scale attack on public sector pensions, saying they were unsustainable and too costly. The Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE) joined with other unions to form the Alberta Labour Coalition on Pensions to rally workers and the public against the devastating changes to pensions in the province.
It is a victory for those who care about decent retirement security in Alberta to see those bills expire as this legislative session ends. But the struggle to maintain decent pension plans may not be over, says the AFL.
Minister of Finance Robin Campbell will re-examine public sector pension plans in the future
Gil McGowan, Chair of the Alberta Labour Coalition on Pensions, warns that "amid this good news, we are also aware that in his mandate letter to Robin Cambell, the newly appointed Minister of Finance and President of the Treasury Board, Premier Prentice asked him to "address the competitivenss of the public sector pension plans and ensure they are sustainable."
"If new attacks on your pension security are launched by the government, we'll mobilize to deal with them," said McGowan. "But in the meantime, savour this moment. And remember the impact we can have when we take action collectively."
The new Conservative government may also present new challenges, as the report of the All Party Standing Committee on Alberta's Economic Future is expected to be tabled when the Legislature resumes.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE