NSGEU delaying civil service contract vote, again

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WATCH ABOVE: A full year could pass before Nova Scotia's biggest union holds a vote on a tentative deal for its civil service members. The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union says a vote will likely happen in June or the fall. Legislative reporter Marieke Walsh has the story – Apr 5, 2016

A tentative agreement between the government and its civil service could only see a vote a year after the agreement was reached.

The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU) says a vote could happen as late as the fall; the deal was reached last November.

A vote was supposed to happen in December, but it was delayed until January after the teachers’ union rejected a contract with the exact same wage pattern. It was then pushed back again until March or April, but now the union says a vote still isn’t planned.

“We have no dates scheduled or any date in mind to hold a vote,” NSGEU president Joan Jessome said.

The delays are because of the provincial budget and travel schedules preventing an April vote, Jessome said, and a vote in May also isn’t possible because the union is electing a new president.

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Finance Minister Randy Delorey wasn’t aware of the delay in voting and says he was told a vote would be held in May. He says the delay is unfair to members who have a right to vote and the delay “increases the risks” that the government will impose wage legislation rather than wait to see the results of the vote.

However the government’s threat to impose wages removes all incentive to move quickly, Jessome said, because they know a wage freeze is what they’ll get either way.

“If it needs to be given to anybody they need to impose it because this isn’t something we would have negotiated,” she said.

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