Strike looming among Nova Scotia’s restorative justice workers
Restorative justice workers could be going on strike before the end of the month.
The practice has been in Nova Scotia since the early 2000s for youth, but was only added to the adult system in 2016. Since then, workers have seen a 150 per cent increase to their workloads.
In May, the seven members of CUPE Local 4764 voted unanimously in favour of a strike.
“We’re just looking to be treated fairly,” said Colin English, a restorative justice worker.
The main issue at hand is fair pay. According to CUPE, restorative justice workers do much the same work as probation officers, but at about 56 per cent of the salary. They are currently asking for 90 per cent pay parity.
Talks are being held between CUPE and the Community Justice Society. The executive director of the society said out of respect for their unionized employees, they would be keeping all dialogue and discussions at the bargaining table.
“I can tell you that as a not for profit organization we are always looking for new funding, but at the moment we have to work with the limited resources that we have.”
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According to CUPE, it is the government’s voice that is lacking at the table.
“[The Community Justice Society] receives all their funding from the Department of Justice, so really it’s a situation where the Department of Justice, the government needs to come to the table to fix the issue.”
In a statement to Global News, the Department of Justice stated: “We value the work the Community Justice Society and their employees do.
This is an ongoing labour matter between the employer, the Community Justice Society, and the Union, CUPE Local 4764. It is important we respect the process. It would be inappropriate for us to provide comment while the negotiations are underway.”
One last conciliation talk is scheduled between CUPE and the Community Justice Society for July 25. If no agreement is reached, Local 4768 will be in a legal strike position.
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