01/13/2016 05:32 EST | Updated 01/13/2016 05:59 EST

Alberta Freezes Salaries Of Non-Unionized Government Staff

Fred Chartrand/CP

EDMONTON — The Alberta government is freezing the salaries of managers and non-unionized public-sector workers for two years as it deals with nosediving oil and gas prices.

Finance Minister Joe Ceci says the move affects 7,000 civil servants and will save $57 million.

He says the government has moved to strengthen revenue sources as it wrestles with a multibillion-dollar budget deficit caused by plunging petroleum prices.

But he says expenses also have to be closely looked at to stabilize costs.

The government is heading into new rounds of bargaining with public-sector unions, including teachers and nurses, over the next two years.

It will pay out almost $25 billion this year in salaries — equivalent to half the total amount of government revenue.

The pay for cabinet ministers and legislature members has already been frozen until 2019.

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