"It is now abundantly clear that government is not genuinely interested in reaching an agreement with our members." — Jason MacLean, NSGEU President
Halifax (8 Aug 2017) — Final attempts to negotiate a new collective agreement between the members of the Nova Scotia Government General Employees Union (NSGEU/NUPGE) and their employer with the assistance of conciliation services failed on Tuesday afternoon, as government officials refused to budge on issues of key importance.
While August 8 and 9 had been set aside for an arbitration hearing with the Labour Board. However, the NSGEU/NUPGE and government officials agreed to return to the table for one last attempt at conciliation, in hopes of reaching a deal. In the event conciliation failed, government officials agreed they would not oppose the union's request for arbitration.
Failure of government to move on a number of important issues
Unfortunately, the employer was unwilling to budge on any significant issues of importance to civil servants.
"It is now abundantly clear that government is not genuinely interested in reaching an agreement with our members," said Jason MacLean, NSGEU President.
"This has been an extremely frustrating process for members of our bargaining committee - as well as the 8,000 civil servants they represent. However, we will now proceed to arbitration - as voted by our members and agreed to by government - with the goal of reaching a fair agreement once the Premier is removed from the bargaining table."
Bargaining covers broad range of public sector workers
There are over 8,000 members of the NSGEU/NUPGE who work in the Civil Service providing a vast array of important public services across the province. They work in Access Nova Scotia centres, child welfare, corrections, the courts, education, finance, inspections, health & safety, wildlife, fisheries, mining, and forestry - just to name a few.
Civil Service members voted to reject a final offer by government on December 14, 2016, which included a 4-year wage package with 2years of zeros, a third year of one percent, and a fourth year of 1.5 percent with a 0.5 per cent increase on the last day of the contract. The offer also included the elimination of a long held benefit, the Public Service Award (PSA). The benefit would not be offered to employees hired after April 1, 2015 and it would be frozen for current employees as of April 1, 2015 paid out at the wages the employee earns when their employment ends (or upon retirement). The PSA was negotiated in 1974 and took its current form in 1984. It was negotiated to help recruit and retain workers to the Civil Service.
The Civil Service Master Agreement expired March 31, 2015.
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