Nova Scotia civil servants to seek arbitration after conciliation talks fail
Government hasn't budged on any key issues, including wage increase: Union
08/09/2017|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 08/11/2017
Union membership rejected the government's contract offer in a vote held last December and have been without a new deal since March 31, 2015. Google Street View
HALIFAX (CP) — Nova Scotia's largest public sector union says conciliation talks with the province have failed and it now plans to file for arbitration on behalf of 8,000 civil servants.
The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union says the province hasn't budged from any key issues in its last offer, including a wage increase of 3.5 per cent over four years.
It says another significant obstacle is the government's intent to end a retirement payment known as the public service award.
In a news release, union president Jason MacLean called the talks ``frustrating'' and says the goal is to reach a fair agreement ``once the premier is removed from the bargaining table.''
``It is now abundantly clear that government is not genuinely interested in reaching an agreement with our members,'' said MacLean.
An arbitration hearing was originally scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday with the province's labour board, but those were set aside after the sides agreed to one last attempt at conciliation in order to get a deal.
The union said the government had agreed that in event the conciliation talks failed they wouldn't oppose the union's request for arbitration.
However, Premier Stephen McNeil has said in the past that he didn't want an ``unelected third party'' to determine what the government can afford to pay.
The workers are employed across a range of government services including Service Nova Scotia, corrections, child welfare, the courts, and health and safety.
The membership rejected the government's contract offer in a vote held last December and have been without a new deal since March 31, 2015.