October 12, 2017 9:47 pm

Nova Scotia health authorities file for conciliation as talks with health-care unions breakdown

A photo taken from a rally against Nova Scotia's Bill 148 on Sept. 21, 2017.

Alexander Quon/Global News

Nova Scotia’s health authorities have filed for conciliation with the provincial government, asking for help in reaching a new contract with the health-care unions after talks broke down.

Both the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) and the IWK Health Centre in Halifax have taken the step to ask the Department of Labour and Advanced Education for the appointment of a conciliator.

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According to an open letter from the Nova Scotia Government & General Employees Union (NSGEU), a union who represents some of the province’s health-care workers, a sticking point of the negotiations was the health authority’s refusal to table their proposals on sick leave benefits for health-care workers.

Tina Thibeau, director of communications for the province of Nova Scotia, confirmed that the province has received the request from the health authorities.

“(We) will be appointing a conciliator,” Thibeau wrote in an email.

Jason Maclean, president of the Nova Scotia Government & General Employees Union (NSGEU) appeared to place the blame for the conciliation squarely on the shoulders of Premier Stephen McNeil.

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“This is all because of interference by the McNeil government,” MacLean said in an interview with Global News.

“We truly are trying to get a deal, but the employer is emboldened by everything that McNeil does.”

The province’s organized labour movement has promised to fight the government’s implementation of Bill 148, which imposed a wage package on certain public workers.

Requests for a comment from the premier’s office were not immediately returned.

— More to come

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