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Bill 108 passes: NSGEU challenging exclusions in new Department of Business

Bill 108 – Financial Measures Act

The Liberal government tabled Bill 108, the Financial Measures (2015) Act on April 27. This Bill puts into law many of the changes government announced in the Provincial Budget, including the elimination of the Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism (ERDT). It also creates the new Department of Business, and restricts the types of employees who will work there. Clause 2 states that those who are employed in the Department of Business are to be employed in a managerial or confidential capacity and excludes them from being covered by the Civil Service Collective Bargaining Act and a collective agreement.

On May 5, NSGEU Interim Executive Director, Robin MacLean, presented our objections to Clause 2 to the Law Amendments Committee.  You can download our submission here. As we understand it, many of the job descriptions are similar to unionized positions in other departments and we will be challenging the basis of these exclusions. We will keep you updated on the progress of these grievances.

Our submission to Law Amendments also included a request for an apology from the government for the way the members, former employees of ERDT, were treated. The members were called into meetings on Budget Day – just minutes before the Budget was delivered – where they were given lay-off notices and then escorted out of the building with their belongings. It was unnecessarily harsh and uncaring. There has been no apology from the government to date.

Our Employee Relations Officers, Elizabeth Kanyikwa, John Cook, Jim Gosse, and Rose DeVillers, have been working with all affected members from Natural Resources, Tourism, Community Services, ERDT, Environment, and other departments who were issued layoff notices prior to the budget announcement and on budget day.  They have been assisting members through the placement/displacement process outlined in the job security provisions in the collective agreement.

Unfortunately, we have had to file a policy grievance and multiple individual grievances due to the employer’s determination not to follow the enhanced job security provisions as laid out in MOA #2 and Article 37 of the Civil Service master agreement. You can read more about these grievances here. http://nsgeu.ca/grievances-filed-on-behalf-of-former-erdt-members/

President Jessome was interviewed by the CBC on Monday, May 11 about the grievances we have filed. You can see her interview here:  https://youtu.be/bjKZK2GcNGM

Bill 108 also repeals the Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia Act in Clause 15, which includes the Film Tax Credit. This has galvanized the film and creative community in Nova Scotia.

Bill 108 passed yesterday, Monday, May 11 due to the McNeil government having a majority in the Legislature, but the struggle has just begun. You can read the full 3rd reading debate here.

Please visit www.whatwillyoulose.ca and complete the actions outlined in the toolkit. Spread the word. We need to keep up the pressure on the government to save our public services!

Join our Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/nsgeu to share your stories and ideas with the NSGEU community.

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