Newfoundland Conservative government announces it will seek changes to public sector pensions.
St. John's (08 Nov. 2012) - Bargaining continues for over thousands of members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE/NUPGE) employed by the provincial government.
Most recently, at a meeting designed to discuss the job evaluation system (JES), the government announced it plans on making changes to the public sector pension plans. Despite dropping this unexpected news, the government representatives would not share any of the options the government is considering.
|Carol Furlong, NAPE President provides bargaining update|
The three public sector unions in attendance have all requested a meeting with the Minister of Finance to discuss this matter. Unilaterally changing the pensions government workers have paid into throughout their careers is unacceptable.
With regard to the JES, the government's latest proposal is to implement the new system four years from now in 2016. With this continued delay, workers will again lose out on classification issues that regularly arise.
NAPE/NUPGE will not agree to four year collective agreements when the employer has concessions on the table and the employer has yet to propose any monetary package such as salaries. The government has not made any clear proposals regarding wages, except those in the media suggesting restraint is needed.
Overall, the union sees the government's bargaining proposals as part of a broader agenda to reduce public services and lower the standard of living for public employees during their working years and after they retire. The government’s agenda would see a workplace where our children and grandchildren become the first generation to inherit a workplace that will have lower benefits and lower wages than those which we had achieved over decades of struggle.
While the government does not seem interested in working with labour to ensure fair and reasonable contracts are reached, it seems to be listening to employer groups, who agree with them that workplaces with low wages, few benefits and no pensions are the way forward.
NAPE/NUPGE is prepared to bargain in the best interests of the public and the membership. The union will head back to the table in the coming weeks to continue its important work.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE