Civil Service Bargaining Update

*This article appears in the Fall 2016 issue of The Union Stand.

The NSGEU has called a vote for its Civil Service members beginning at 8 a.m. on December 12th and ending at noon on December 14th. The results will be announced shortly thereafter.
Civil Service members will be voting on whether to accept or reject the employer (aka Stephen McNeil’s government’s) final offer.
The employer’s final offer includes a four-year wage package with two years of zeros, a third year of one percent, and a fourth year of 1.5 percent with a 0.5 percent increase on the last day of the contract. It takes away a long held benefit, the Public Service Award (PSA). The benefit will not exist for employees hired after April 1, 2015 and it freezes it as of April 1, 2015 for current employees, 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 terms of government’s offer are not acceptable to the Civil Service Bargaining Unit (BUNC & UNC) who are recommending the members reject it and vote “NO.” We were pleased to see the members of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU) reject this same offer from the government, not once, but twice.
The McNeil government has since refused to return to the bargaining table and negotiate. They would rather dictate their terms. Now is the time for Civil Service members to let the government know what they think of the employer’s final offer.
Representatives of the Civil Service Bargaining Committee are traveling the province the first two weeks of November and holding meetings in order to discuss the employer’s final offer and to answer any questions the membership may have.
If you cannot attend any of the information sessions listed on the right, but would like to find out more about this vote, we are also holding three Telephone Town Halls, all at 7:30 pm:
• Technical & Services (TS) on Nov. 22nd;
• Clerical (CL) on Nov. 30th;
• Professional (PR) on Dec. 7th.
Watch your email and the NSGEU website for more information.
If you are a member of the Civil Service and have not received an email from us about these sessions, it means we do not have an email address for you. Once voting begins, at 8 a.m. on Dec. 12th, a voting PIN will be sent by email to all signed members. If you do not receive an email with a PIN by noon on Dec. 12 please call the NSGEU to obtain one.
Only signed members are authorized to vote, so if you have not signed a union card, and you wish to vote, please contact us before November 30th if possible. There will also be cards at the information sessions.


What is Bill 148?

On December 14th, 2015, government tabled Bill 148, Public Services Sustainability (2015) Act. This Act includes reference to the vast majority of the public sector employees in the province and has not yet been proclaimed or enacted.
This Bill dictates the same wage pattern found in the Employer’s final offer and similarly ends the PSA for all employees hired after April 1st, 2015 and freezes it for all employees as of April 1st, 2015. However, the Act specifies that that the PSA will be paid out at the wages earned as of April 1st, 2015 rather than at the wages earned when you leave your employment with the Civil Service.
If Bill 148 is enacted, the NSGEU will challenge it in court.


3 Responses to Civil Service Bargaining Update

  1. Mark Wells November 4, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

    Wondering what, without the right to strike, the plan will be in response to a rejection of the offer? Other job action, such as ‘work to rule’ isn’t really manageable, practical or well enforceable in my opinion. Does the public service have a direct route to arbitration in lieu of not having the right to strike? If so, a rejection might make sense to me. Otherwise, I’m struggling to see what or how we stand to gain anything above the current offer.

    • Deedee Slye November 23, 2016 at 3:13 pm #

      Hello there Mark, the Civil Service has its own Act called The Civil Service Collective Bargaining Act and yes, we do have the right to arbitration as per that Act. You can find the Act here. If the members vote no, your bargaining committee would file first for conciliation and then if that fails, would enter into the arbitration process. Your bargaining committee’s wage proposals would be put forward during arbitration. The Premier has drafted and tabled Bill 148 which, if enacted, would limit what the arbitrator could rule on and how she/he must rule on those items. However, if enacted, we will challenge Bill 148 in court. I hope this answer helps. Thank you!

  2. Paul Thornhill November 17, 2016 at 7:03 am #

    Yes read the Civil Service contract on the nsgeu website which is still in force

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