He has been on the front lines of a global pandemic the past 16 months but a local nurse and thousands of his counterparts are lost for words as they are being asked to take a pay cut.

The UCP government and Alberta Health Services (AHS) are currently in negotiations with the United Nurses of Alberta (UNA) and are calling for a three per cent wage reduction, saying nurse's pay needs to be in line with other provinces.

"On average, Alberta nurses make 5.6 per cent more than in other comparator provinces," said Finance Minister Travis Toews. "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 UNA said that AHS is also looking to eliminate the lump-sum payments which, when combined with the wage cuts could result in a five per cent pay cut overall.

AHS is also asking to cap banked overtime at 38.75 hours and for hours of work to be averaged over a 14-day period rather than the current 7 days.

For local nurse Thomas Edwards, the chaos he and his fellow nurses are enduring is a stretch considering the work they've already put in. He calls the demand for wage rollbacks "disrespectful."

"I think it's disrespectful to the entire province as well to say the commitments that everyone has made to this pandemic, to getting us through, is not for nought, but that it's not worth the time and energy that we did put in."

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