Rahki Pancholi

Courtesy Facebook

An Edmonton NDP MLA says she’s tired of women bearing the brunt of the province’s financial woes.

Rahki Pancholi made the comment after UCP Finance Minister Travis Toews said the province was asking nurses to take a pay cut.

“Cutting nurses’ pay after all they’ve done during the pandemic is yet “another reminder” of how women’s work holds no value to the UCP,” Pancholi wrote on Facebook.

“I am DONE with women being expected to accept ‘thank you so much, dear’ as compensation for their work.”

Statistics show nursing is a female-dominated profession with 91% of regulated nurses identifying as female.

Toews issued a statement Tuesday night saying the province would be asking for a 3% wage rollback in return for job security for nurses.

The United Nurses of Alberta said the rollback demand would amount to more than 5%

“Alberta’s nurses have worked diligently throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and we respect and appreciate the invaluable role they have played in helping the province emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Toews.

“As we move beyond the peaks of the pandemic and into a more manageable period, we need to continue the important work of getting the province’s finances back on track.

“AHS is offering job security to nurses, despite record unemployment in the province due to the pandemic,” he said.

“On average, Alberta nurses make 5.6% more than in other comparative provinces. This costs Alberta approximately $141 million per year at a time when our finances are already stretched. The need to bring wages in line with other large provinces does not diminish our deep respect for the exceptional work and dedication of public sector workers. It is simply reflective of our fiscal reality, and one that many sectors in the province have experienced.

“The past 16 months have put a considerable strain on the province, following already high levels of debt and deficit. An additional $5.1 billion was spent in response to COVID-19 and to support the Alberta Recovery Plan, which included $1.5 billion in health care spending. This is above and beyond the $23 billion Health expense in Budget 2021 – the largest single-year investment in health care in Alberta’s history.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

News Editor & Calgary Bureau Chief

Dave Naylor is News Editor & Calgary Bureau Chief of the Western Standard based in the Calgary Headquarters. He served as City Editor of the Calgary Sun & covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years.

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