The UCP will introduce a bill Thursday that would allow government to delay wage talks for thousands of public sector workers.

Unionized workers agreed to a pay freeze for the first two years of their contract and now have the right to reopen those negotiations.

Bill 9, the Public Sector Wage Arbitration Deferral Act, would delay wage arbitrations for nurses, social workers and correctional officers.

Finance Minister Travis Toews said in Question Period that it is the responsible decision.

“We are seeking this delay to ensure we have a path forward to returning to balance,” Toews said.

Opposition leader Rachel Notley accused the government of ignoring their obligation to bargain in good faith.

“Why did you not tell Albertans you were going to break the law to steal money from nurses?” Notley asked.

In a statement, United Nurses of Alberta Labour Relations Director David Harrigan said, “United Nurses of Alberta will continue working to negotiate its members’ wage-reopener agreement in good faith despite the Government of Alberta’s apparent bad-faith tactics.”

Bill 9 will be introduced Thursday afternoon.