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Following public reaction, Edmonton Public Library drops plan to cut pages' wages

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The interior of the Lois Hole Branch of the Edmonton Public Library (Photo: EPL).

Acknowledging negative feedback received by Edmonton Public Library about its plan to reduce pay rates for youth pages in line with the United Conservative Party government's cuts to the minimum wage, EPL chief executive officer Pilar Martinez said today the library would maintain current student pay rates.

In an official statement published on the library system's website, Martinez said that while such changes would normally be part of bargaining for a new collective agreement with its staff union, EPL and the Civic Service Union 52 have struck a deal to keep the old wage rates in place.

"Fortunately, EPL has not implemented this proposed change, and after further discussion, EPL and CSU 52 have come to an agreement to maintain current student page wages rates until negotiation of the new collective agreement is complete," the statement said.

"As a result, there will be no changes to student page wages at this time ($17.25 - $18.75 per hour)," she stated.

Martinez noted that "EPL is proud to have ongoing roles specifically for high school students under the age of 18. We value our student pages as evidenced by our commitment to paying a premium over the minimum wage."

The statement concluded: "Thank you for voicing your opinions and asking us to find a solution."

David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions with The Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald. This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, AlbertaPolitics.ca.

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