Halifax – The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union strongly disagrees with the McNeil Government’s proposals for a new civil service collective agreement. The NSGEU began bargaining on Wednesday with the Public Service Commission on behalf of their members who work for the Civil Service today.
“I can’t believe a sitting government would attack their employees, the public sector, with what they tabled,” says NSGEU President Joan Jessome. “Two years ago in an email sent to all civil servants, the Premier said he appreciated the great work they do and the differences their efforts make in the lives of Nova Scotians. Now, his government is seeking to undermine their wages and benefits with concessions and take-aways.”
“They are not just threatening to cut wages, but taking away the public service award and job security,” says Jessome. “The articles they have identified as eliminating are significant to the working life of our members and for the advancement for our members in the workplace – they are heavy duty concessions.”
The NSGEU has also tabled their proposals which include modest improvements and a three-year term.
“It will be up to our Bargaining Committee to determine whether they can stay and negotiate with an employer that wants to take things out of their contract,” says Jessome.
Members who work for the Civil Service do not have the right to strike. If bargaining comes to an impasse, the terms and conditions of employment will be set by a third party through a process known as interest arbitration. The decision to go to arbitration is made by the Bargaining Unit Negotiating Council and the Union Negotiating Committee.
There is another bargaining date scheduled for October 22 and other dates set aside if necessary.
Civil Service workers include: administrative professionals who keep public records accurate and ready for you when you need them; forest technicians, geologists, child-protection workers, food inspectors, fisheries technicians, accountants, planners, clerks, architects, youth workers, correctional officers, deputy sheriffs, archives and museum staff, fisheries and agricultural technicians, vehicle compliance officers, and many more.
“On the same day, the Premier is praising small businesses in Nova Scotia, he is bashing an important group that supports small businesses, namely, civil service employees. If the Premier is truly concerned about growing the economy, why would his government seek widespread concessions and takeaways that will greatly reduce the buying power of so many customers of small businesses.”
The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union represents over 30,000 women and men who provide quality public services Nova Scotian’s count on every day.
For more information, please contact:
Deedee Slye, NSGEU Communications Officer