Labour briefs (April 9, 2001)

Showing nurses the money
Edmonton — Nurses in Alberta became the highest paid in the country after signing a two-year contract last month. Wages for 20,000 nurses will increase 17 to 22 per cent over two years. Nurses just out of school will be making $24.70 an hour, with an annual income of $49,000 — a $6,500 increase. The province also committed to hiring every new nurse that graduates in Alberta over the next two years.

Union workers making more
Ottawa — Unionized workers received bigger salary increases last year than they have in the previous eight, according to the federal government’s Wage Settlement Bulletin. The average increase in 2000 was 2.5 per cent for public-sector employees, edging out their private-sector counterparts who received a 2.3-per-cent pay hike. It’s the first time in six years that the public sector has experienced a higher pay hike compared to private-sector union settings.

Labour must unite internationally: IMF
Washington, D.C. — The global labour movement should band together to tackle the effects of globalization on labour, says Marcello Malentacchi, general secretary of the International Monetary Fund. The current debate surrounding globalization does little to address the specific objectives of the trade unions, says Malentacchi. In particular, the talks that took place at the World Economic Forum and the World Social Forum only partially addressed the issues that affect trade. Malentacchi points to the divisions in the global labour movement and says he will call for an urgent meeting of the movement to debate the issues.

One big happy family
Berlin — German unions have merged to form one of the single largest unions, with some three million members. The country’s top three unions and two others merged to form the Verdi labour group to curb a long-term shrinkage in union membership and protect against a move to sidestep collective bargaining by firms. The group includes workers from garbage collectors to university academics.

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