Wage bill passed in Nova Scotia legislature following marathon debate

HALIFAX -- Fractious legislation that would impose a wage settlement on 75,000 public sector workers in Nova Scotia was passed Friday following a marathon debate in the provincial legislature.

See Full Article

The Liberal government used its majority to push through the Public Services Sustainability Act by a vote of 30 to 14, following the third all-night session this week.

If proclaimed, the law would impose a two-year wage freeze on virtually every public servant in the province, followed by a three-per-cent raise over the next two years.

It would also impose restrictions on arbitrated settlements, which the government says is necessary to keep its expenses in line with its fiscal targets.

The government maintains the bill won't take away collective bargaining rights because public sector unions would be able to negotiate contractual matters other than wages.

"This bill does not legislate contracts in the public service," Finance Minister Randy Delorey told the legislature.

"What the bill is, is legislating a framework and a directive to public-sector employers that they have a limited amount of new money to be brought into the system."

Delorey said the government's decision to move ahead wasn't being taken lightly.

"What we are trying to do is to align our investments in the province of Nova Scotia with our ability to pay," he said.

However, union leaders have condemned the legislation, saying it undermines collective bargaining for public servants.

In a news release the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour said the legislation will not go unchallenged.

"The Liberals unconstitutional legislation attempts to take away workers' rights to free and fair collective bargaining," said Danny Cavanagh, the organization's president.

"Stephen McNeil and the Liberals have forced through legislation that will be challenged in the courts and in the streets every step of the way."

The fight over the bill is the latest in a series of confrontations between the government and its public sector unions since Premier Stephen McNeil came to power in 2013. Most notable was a new law passed in the spring that reduced the number of bargaining units for health workers from 50 to four.

The wage pattern established by the new law is the same rejected last month by the province's 9,000 teachers. The province's largest union, the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, responded by delaying a ratification vote on a similar deal until mid-January.

The legislature wrapped up its fall session with the passage of the bill.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • 'We always find a way': N.L.'s oil-dependent economy is hurting, but there is hope on the horizon

    Economic CBC News
    Dwight Ball, the affable pharmacist who has been Newfoundland and Labrador's premier for the last 15 months, said something remarkable Wednesday while swinging an axe through several hundred government jobs. "We're human, too. This impacts us," said Ball, who clearly has shown no relish for the more brutal parts of dealing with an oil-dependent economy during a collapse in petroleum prices. Source
  • Deciphering Trump's curious comments on Keystone XL pipeline

    Economic CBC News
    In his nearly hour-long speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday morning, U.S. President Trump talked about a lot of things — the media, Obamacare, trade and crime. But he also ventured into pipelines. Source
  • Ontario police looking for 'large quantity' of stolen cheese

    Economic CTV News
    SOUTH WEST OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Ont. - Police in southwestern Ontario are looking for thieves who made off with a lot of cheese. Ontario Provincial Police say the Village Cheese Mill in South West Oxford Township, east of London, Ont. Source
  • Stock prices slide lower despite large profits at big banks

    Economic CBC News
    Canada's benchmark stock index is on track for its worst day of the year as oil prices are lower and financial firms are selling off despite record earnings at some of Canada's biggest banks. The S&P/TSX composite index was off by 260 points to 15,520 in the afternoon. Source
  • TSX tumbles 247 points despite big profits at big banks

    Economic CBC News
    Canada's benchmark stock index is on track for its worst day of the year as oil prices are lower and financial firms are selling off despite record earnings at some of Canada's biggest banks. The S&P/TSX composite index was off by 260 points to 15,520 in the afternoon. Source
  • 'Baycott': Why 'Peeved Beavers' are upset by Ivanka Trump's brand at the Bay

    Economic CTV News
    Armed with distinctive blonde wigs, pursed lips and red power ties, a group of Ontario women are planning to dress up as U.S. President Donald Trump to protest the Hudson’s Bay Co. for carrying Ivanka Trump’s fashion line during two demonstrations in the Toronto area planned for Saturday. Source
  • Nova Scotia tourism sees third consecutive year of growth

    Economic CTV News
    HALIFAX - Nova Scotia says the province's tourism industry continued a steady upswing in fortunes in 2016. It says 2.2 million visitors came to the province -- that's up eight per cent, or about 170,000 more visitors, than in 2015. Source
  • Husky may sell some of its assets in N.L. offshore oil industry: sources

    Economic CBC News
    Canadian oil and gas producer Husky Energy Inc is weighing paring down its stakes in some of its Eastern Canadian offshore assets, in a move that could fetch as much as several billion dollars, people familiar with the talks have told the Reuters news service. Source
  • Cleanup of oil spill in Sask. cost $107M, Husky Energy says

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- Husky Energy says efforts to clean up a major oil pipeline spill last year in Saskatchewan have cost $107 million. About 90,000 litres of heavy crude and diluent leaked into the North Saskatchewan River last July, jeopardizing drinking water supplies for thousands of people downstream. Source
  • Ottawa's deficit hits $14B through first nine months of fiscal year

    Economic CBC News
    The federal government ran a budgetary shortfall of $14 billion over the first nine months of the fiscal year, compared with a $3.2-billion surplus over the same period a year earlier. The Finance Department's monthly fiscal monitor says federal program expenses between April and December rose $16.7 billion, or 8.8 per cent, compared with the same stretch a year ago. Source