OTTAWA ― The Canadian Labour Congress has slammed the Nova Scotia government for introducing Essential Services legislation that denies nurses and other provincial health care workers their right to collective bargaining.
CLC President Ken Georgetti was responding to a decision by the Nova Scotia government to introduce The Essential Health and Community Services Act, which would require unions and employers throughout the health care sector to have essential services agreements in place before job action can occur. If such an agreement cannot be reached a third party will decide how many workers are deemed to be essential to provide health services.
“This tilts the balance in negotiations in favour of the employers,” Georgetti says. “Why would any employer bargain in good faith with workers if it knows it can rely on a third party to designate an unrealistic number of workers as essential? This is a one-sided process and it completely undercuts the rights of workers to free collective bargaining.”
Georgetti says that CLC affiliated unions and labour organizations in Nova Scotia have described the legislation was the most regressive in the country. “To make matters worse,” says Georgetti, “this bill would apply indefinitely, not only to nurses but also to hospital employees, paramedics, 911 operators and people who work in homes for seniors, youth and people with disabilities, about 36,000 to 40,000 workers in all.”
Georgetti says that collective bargaining is the only system that allows workers and employers to sort out their differences and reach a mutual agreement. “Not allowing workers to bargain will have negative consequences on labour relations in the health care field for years to come.”
The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada’s national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 111 district labour councils.
Web site: www.canadianlabour.ca
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Contacts: Dennis Gruending, CLC Communications: Tel. 613-526-7431
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