NSGEU files for conciliation as Civil service negotiations reach an impasse

The NSGEU/NUPGE hopes that by envoking the assistance of a provincial conciliation officer a settlement can be reached.

Halifax (09 Jan. 2017) The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees’ Union (NSGEU/NUPGE) 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, NSGEU President. "Right now, we remain far apart and are proceeding to the next step - conciliation."

94 per cent of NSGEU/NUPGE rejected government’s final offer

NSGEU/NUPGE members voted 94 per cent against the employer's final offer on December 14. Following this vote, the union returned to the bargaining table with the employer for 2 days of negotiations.

The employer's final offer was a 4-year deal with a wage package of zero per cent in the first 2 years, one per cent in the third year, 1.5 per cent in the fourth and 0.5 per cent on the last day of the contract. The offer also ends a long-held benefit, called the Public Service Award that is a deferred wage benefit negotiated in the 1980s 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.

Next steps: conciliation and interest arbitration

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/NUPGE 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 7,300 NSGEU/NUPGE 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.

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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