The NSGEU is filing for conciliation after negotiations with the government for a Civil Service collective agreement reached an impasse.
“Our members are looking for a fair agreement and hopefully a conciliator can help us get there,” says Jason MacLean, President of the Nova Scotia Government & General Employees Union. “Right now, we remain far apart and are proceeding to the next step – conciliation.”
NSGEU members voted 94% against the employer’s final offer on December 14. Following this vote, the union returned to the bargaining table with the employer for two days of negotiations.
The employer’s final offer was a four year deal with a wage package of 0%,0%,1%, 1.5% and 0.5% on the last day of the contract. Their offer also ends a long-held benefit, called the Public Service Award, which is a deferred wage benefit negotiated in the 80’s to improve recruitment and retention in the Civil Service. It freezes the benefit for all those who are current members and any new hires after April, 2015 would not receive it at all.
When parties are unable to achieve a mutual agreement, either the union or the employer can apply to the Labour Board for the help of conciliation services. Conciliation Officers work for the Department of Labour and Workforce Development.
NSGEU members working in the Civil Service do not have the right to strike. This right is replaced with the right to Interest Arbitration. Labour relations for the Civil Service are covered in the Civil Service Collective Bargaining Act. If conciliation fails, the next step would be to apply for Interest Arbitration.
There are over 7300 NSGEU members working in the Civil Service. These women and men provide a vast array of important public services across the province. They work in Access Nova Scotia centres, child welfare, corrections, the courts, education, finance, inspections, wildlife, fisheries, mining, and forestry – just to name a few.