HALIFAX, Aug. 18, 2015 /CNW/ - After 18 months of tensions and attacks on public sector workers and their unions, the Nova Scotia government today laid down the next step in its curtailment of workers' rights.
Finance Minister Randy Delorey called union leaders together to discuss what he called "a new approach" to collective bargaining in his August 11 invitation. He announced today to the unions that there will be no money for public sector workers for the next five years and will want to enshrine that in lengthy five-year collective agreements.
"We came here today hoping for a new approach characterized by respect and cooperation, but what we heard was a reflection of the disrespect for the workers of this province - just more of the same from this government," said Lana Payne, Atlantic Regional Director of Unifor. "They are stopping the conversation before it even begins, at a time when there is urgent need in Nova Scotia to protect our public services and ensure the workers are respected."
Payne states that the government continues to demonstrate a lack of respect for the collective bargaining process by setting conditions prior to bargaining. She foresees that conflict and upheaval are the result of an approach like this.
Payne is determined to seek solutions that will work for all Nova Scotians and aims to collaborate with other union leaders and the local Unifor membership to develop appropriate plans to move forward.
"The people of Nova Scotia deserve strong public services; this kind of austerity plan will erode those very services that we depend on in our daily lives," said Payne. "If we want to get serious about rebuilding our economy, we have to have more creative strategies than taking money out of the pockets of our hard-working health care workers and teachers."
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.
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For more information, please contact Shelley Burgoyne at [email protected] or 902-717-7491