"We went to the table twice in April with the help of a conciliation officer and bargaining was moving backwards." — Jason MacLean, NSGEU President
Halifax (17 May 2017) — The negotiating committee for civil service members of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU/NUPGE) has determined that bargaining is at an impasse and is filing for arbitration to address outstanding issues.
Lack of progress in bargaining
"We went to the table twice in April with the help of a conciliation officer and bargaining was moving backwards," says NSGEU President Jason MacLean.
"We have been bargaining for over a year and a half and need to make progress for our members and reach a fair agreement in a timely manner. We are requesting a third party to make this happen."
NSGEU/NUPGE members in favour of filing for arbitration
On May 16, NSGEU/NUPGE members of the civil service voted 97 per cent in favour of authorizing the union to file for arbitration if an impasse was declared.
Interest arbitration is more commonly known as binding arbitration. The union and the employer, in this case the Nova Scotia government, present their demands to an arbitrator or an arbitration board that renders a decision setting out the terms of the new collective agreement,which is binding on both the employer and the union.
NSGEU/NUPGE fighting off low-wage and concessionary proposals
The NSGEU/NUPGE and the employer exchanged proposals in October 2015. Members voted overwhelmingly to reject the government's final offer on December 14, 2016. The final offer contained the government's legislated wage mandate: a 4-year deal with a wage package of zero per cent in the first 2 years, 1 per cent in the third year, 1.5 per cent in the fourth year and 0.5 per cent on the last day of the contract. It also took away a long held and freely negotiated benefit called the Public Service Award — a deferred wage benefit negotiated in the 1980s to improve recruitment and retention in the civil service.
The union filed for conciliation in January.
There are over 7,300 members of the NSGEU/NUPGE who work in the civil service providing a vast array of important public services. They work in Access Nova Scotia centres, child welfare, corrections, the courts, education, finance, inspections, wildlife, fisheries, mining, and forestry — just to name a few.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 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