NB government eliminates binding arbitration provision in omnibus bill
The binding arbitration provision in the provincial government’s recently tabled omnibus bill has been removed.
Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Francine Landry made the announcement Friday morning in the New Brunswick Legislature which was met with a a standing ovation.
“The government intends to strike the binding arbitration provision from Bill 24 and will not bring this into law,” Landry said.
Labour groups, firefighters, and university professors were among those who voiced their concern with over the controversial legislation that they said would take away their ability to negotiate with employers.
“We’re happy the government acknowledged the concerns of the workers in the province,” said John Gagnon, New Brunswick Federation of Labour first Vice President.
Opposition Leader Bruce Fitch, however, saw the changes as indicative of a recurring problem.
“This again is another symptom of them not doing their job thoroughly before bringing legislation here to the house.”
“I warned the premier a small cabinet will run into problems and we’ve seen that evidence here this week.”
But the Liberals say it should point to their government’s willingness to listen to the public.
“I think the process works, democracy works — the legislature’s there, we introduce bills, the opposition has the role to play to ask the proper questions,” said Energy and Mines Minister, Donald Arsenault.
“We go through second reading, we go through the various committees and things like law of amendments. It’s not that we made a mistake, that’s part of the process.”
In addition to the removal of the binding arbitration piece of the omnibus bill, Minister Landry also announced that a committee to resolve labour issues would be formed shortly which will include MLAs as well as industry representatives.
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