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Travis Toews, Alberta's Minister of Finance, says there is no new money for public sector raises in the government's fiscal plan.

The Canadian Press

The Alberta government says an arbitration board has ruled there will be no wage increases for teachers and registered nurses in their current contracts.

The decision affects members of the Alberta Teachers’ Association and the United Nurses of Alberta.

Finance Minister Travis Toews says the ruling reflects the current economic realities in the province and added there is no new money for public sector raises in the government’s fiscal plan.

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The nurses had asked for a three per cent increase after no receiving raises in the first and second years of their three-year contract.

Jason Schilling, president of the ATA, says the ruling means teachers haven’t had a raise in seven of the last eight years.

He says teachers are angry and they will keep the ruling in mind during upcoming contract talks that begin in March.

“Teachers will seek to correct this situation in the next round of collective bargaining,” Schilling said in a release Friday.

“The stakes are going to be higher than ever. Frankly, Alberta teachers are tired of having to pay for the continuing failure of successive governments to adequately fund public education.”

The association says it has 46,000 members.

The United Nurses of Alberta is to begin negotiations for a new a new provincial collective agreement on Tuesday.

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The union says it represents more than 30,000 registered nurses, registered psychiatric nurses and other health care workers.

Toews says correcting wages is a critical part of the government’s plan to deal with deficits and Alberta’s accumulated debt.

He notes that public sector compensation accounts for more than half of government expenses.

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