Arbitration award breaks wage restraint imposed on Nova Scotia's civil service

"Our members' patience and commitment to the union's fight for a better deal were key to getting this deal." — Jason MacLean, NSGEU President

Halifax (07 Dec. 2017) — The Civil Service Arbitration Board chaired by Tom Cromwell released his decision that concludes a collective agreement for civil service members.

"We have just received the decision and we are still reviewing it, however, our initial reaction is that we are very pleased with the result," says Jason MacLean, President of the Nova Scotia Government & General Employees Union (NSGEU/NUPGE).

The arbitration board's decision results in a collective agreement that will expire on April 1, 2021.  

NSGEU/NUPGE civil service members to see wage increases 

The arbitration board has broken the province's wage restraint plan by awarding 2 extra years at a combined 2 per cent, per year. The NSGEU/NUPGE is very pleased the board chose to agree with the union's proposal to extend the contract by 2 years and offer wage increases beyond those outlined in the province's wage restraint legislation.

The board provided wage increases as legislated in Bill 148 but then included, as the union requested in its briefs, 2 further years of increases. As a result wages will increase as follows

  • 0 per cent in 2015 and 2016
  • 1 per cent effective April 1, 2017
  • 1.5 per cent effective April 1, 2018
  • 0.5 per cent effective March 31, 2019
  • 1.5 per cent effective April 1, 2019
  • 0.5 per cent effective March 31, 2020
  • 1.5 per cent effective April 1, 2020
  • 0.5 per cent effective March 31, 2021

Court challenge on Bill 148 to go ahead

"Our members' patience and commitment to the union's fight for a better deal were key to getting this deal," said MacLean. "I want to thank members for that support through a long and difficult process."

The board's decision is consistent with Bill 148 in that the Public Service Award will continue to be frozen as of April 1, 2015. That means civil servants will no longer accrue additional weeks of service after April 1, 2015.

However, the award does not halt the NSGEU/NUPGE from continuing its court challenge on Bill 148. Although it will take time, the court will eventually decide the outcome of Bill 148.

The NSGEU/NUPGE represents approximately 7,300 members who work in the civil service. 

More information: 

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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