March 1, 2014 10:31 am

Nova Scotia Liberals pass home-care legislation in rare weekend sitting

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil looks on at a press conference following the 2013 Council of the Federation fall meeting in Toronto, Nov. 15, 2013.

Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press
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HALIFAX – The Nova Scotia legislature passed essential services legislation in a unusual Saturday sitting to end a strike by Halifax-area home-care workers.

The governing Liberals voted unanimously for the disputed bill, while both opposition parties voted against it.

Premier Stephen McNeil says it won’t take away the right to strike, but rather that it requires the employer and union to determine who is considered an essential worker.

READ MORE: More than 400 home-care workers go on strike as legislature reconvenes

If an agreement can’t be reached, the matter would be submitted to the Nova Scotia Labour Board.

NDP Leader Maureen MacDonald says the bill sets a bad precedent for future labour negotiations and treats home-care workers unfairly.

The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union say 420 workers at Northwood Homecare, who walked off the job Friday, want the same pay as their counterparts in hospitals.

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