07/08/2013 06:57 EDT | Updated 09/07/2013 05:12 EDT

AUPE Denounce Province's Offer, Head To Binding Arbitration


EDMONTON - The union representing 21,000 Alberta public workers says it's heading to binding arbitration to settle its contract.

Alberta Union of Provincial Employees president Guy Smith says the province is offering a four-year deal with no increase in the first three years, and that is not acceptable.

Workers include all front-line workers, including jail guards, sheriffs, social workers, administrative staff and natural resources workers.

Smith says the province's offer is "very disappointing", adding Premier Alison Redford told delegates at its convention last fall how important public services are to Albertans.

Smith says last month Redford praised public employees, especially first responders and emergency services workers, for their dedication and hard work during devastating floods in Fort McMurray and southern Alberta.

Yet, he says, at the bargaining table, she's telling those same people that they don't deserve a raise for the next three years.

He says the province's position was firm before the flooding ever took place, so that expense shouldn't be factored in.

Also on HuffPost

Photo gallery Alberta Jails Strike See Gallery