NS: NSGEU offers arbitration to avoid labour disruption

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'The premier has said he is concerned about the impact of a strike. Here is his opportunity to prove that. If the premier accepts this offer, the union will take it immediately to members to ratify and this would avert a strike before the Friday deadline,' says NSGEU president Joan Jessome.

NSGEU President Joan Jessome address members of Local 34 as they protest out of Northwood Homecare. Northwood and the union are at odds over wage parity between its workers and their hospital-based counterparts.

[HALIFAX, NS] - In a last ditch effort to avoid work stoppage for home support workers, NSGEU president Joan Jessome wrote to Premier Stephen McNeil this morning offering binding arbitration for this round of bargaining only for the group. The offer is also subject to ratification by NSGEU home support workers.

The arbitration would deal only with the term of a renewed agreement and any wage increases after April 1, 2013. Employees who have waited two years for a settlement would accept the government’s offer of 2 per cent and 2.5 per cent in the first two years of the deal, provided the settlement is ratified. The union has been demanding wage parity with employees who do the same work in hospitals.

“The premier has said he is concerned about the impact of a strike,” said Jessome. “Here is his opportunity to prove that. If the premier accepts this offer, the union will take it immediately to members to ratify and this would avert a strike before the Friday deadline.

“If the premier refuses this offer it will be clear for everyone in the province his real focus is money and his intention is to undermine the bargaining rights of home support workers,” Jessome said. “Home support workers provide an invaluable service to our community. We hope the government recognizes the value of their work, and await their reply. These workers deserve the same hourly wage as someone doing the same job in hospitals.”

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