“The government is unwilling to agree to reasonable improvements in the collective agreement that would give workers and their families a little more economic security.” — Barry Nowoselsky, Chair of the Public Service/Government Employment (PS/GE) negotiating committee
Regina (25 June 2018) — Negotiations between the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union (SGEU/NUPGE) public service bargaining unit and the Public Service Commission (PSC), which bargains on behalf of the provincial government, have reached an impasse.
Public service workers looking to negotiate a fair deal
“Our goal is to achieve a fair collective agreement for the people who provide important frontline public services: the social workers, wildfire fighters, highway workers, lab technicians, administrative professionals, agrologists and corrections officers, along with many others. Their work and commitment to Saskatchewan families should be valued,” said Barry Nowoselsky, Chair of the Public Service/Government Employment (PS/GE) negotiating committee.
“Instead, public service workers have been scapegoated by a government that squanders hundreds of millions on high-priced, out-of-province consultants and costly projects, like the Regina Bypass and Global Transportation Hub (GTH), an expensive and questionable carbon capture technology experiment, and the costly LEAN fiasco, just to name a few,” Nowoselsky added.
“It’s time for this government to show they value the work performed by our neighbours, family and friends who live and work right here in Saskatchewan," he said.
“The government is unwilling to agree to reasonable improvements in the collective agreement that would give workers and their families a little more economic security,” Nowoselsky said.
Strike vote shows support behind bargaining proposals
A strike vote will be conducted across the province throughout July. Bargaining for a new contract for government employees began in October 2016.
In February 2018, members were asked to vote on a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). The tentative deal was rejected in April. When bargaining resumed in May, the union brought forward proposals on wages, pensions and other contract improvements. Talks broke down in early June.
“We are prepared to return to the bargaining table at any time,” said Nowoselsky, “but without a strike mandate, I doubt we can make any meaningful progress.”
“A mandate from the members to strike does not mean there will be immediate job action, but it strengthens the union negotiating committee’s ability to bargain for a fair deal,” he added.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 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