Nunavut government employees vote for strike action



    IQALUIT, March 30 /CNW Telbec/ - Employees of the Nunavut Government
voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in their continuing struggle
to achieve a reasonable collective agreement. The vote was held between
March 3 to 30, 2008 among the Government's 2000 employees. Those workers are
members of the Nunavut Employees Union (NEU), a Component of the Public
Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) who voted 90% in favour of giving a strike
mandate to their union.
    "This strong result in favour of strike action indicates clearly that our
members are ready and willing to do what's necessary to achieve a fair and
equitable collective agreement," said Doug Workman the President of the
Nunavut Employees Union. " This vote shows strong support for the PSAC/NEU
negotiating team," he added.
    The collective agreement between the Government of Nunavut and the NEU
expired in September 2006 and negotiations started in December 2006. The
negotiations broke off in January 2008 and the Union had no choice but to
apply for mediation because the Government has failed to present an offer that
would achieve a negotiated settlement.
    Jean-François Des Lauriers is the PSAC Regional Executive Vice-president
for the North. He sees the mediation process that will begin soon as another
opportunity for the government to address serious issues such as employee
retention and a possible shortage of nurses and other health care
professionals.
    "The Government of Nunavut may be facing difficult problems, but
shortchanging the employees at the bargaining table will not make the problems
go away," Des Lauriers said. "Time has come for the government to come up with
solutions that will address the many difficulties workers encounter in the
North."
    Major differences that forced the breakdown include the employer's
positions on the Northern Allowance, retroactivity on salary and benefits,
recruitment and retention incentives, as well as operational issues for the
Correctional, Health Care and School Year Workers.
    The government must also present a new compensation package for the
nurses if Nunavut is to avoid a nursing crisis. The current negotiations
between the GN and the NEU will also determine the next collective agreement
for other government employees such as college instructors, social workers,
custodial workers, engineers and others.
    The PSAC/NEU will soon publish a schedule of strike preparation courses
that will take place throughout Nunavut during the next few weeks.




For further information:

For further information: Alex Stuit, PSAC Regional Representative, (867)
979-7430; Doug Workman, NEU President, (867) 979-4209; Jean-François Des
Lauriers, PSAC REVP (867) 669-0991


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