In a surprising turn of events, the NSGEU has changed its mind and is now recommending the civil service bargaining committee reject the government’s contentious contractoffer.
After weeks of consultation with workers, the union’s negotiation committee voted 96 per cent in favour of recommending rejection on Friday.
“We’ve spent the past weeks speaking with thousands of civil servants, and we’ve heard overwhelmingly that these members are not prepared to accept the final offer the Liberal government is trying to force upon them with Bill 148,” said union president Joan Jessome in a release.
READ MORE: NSGEU civil servants reach tentative deal with NS government
“We hear loud and clear from our members across the province, literally thousands of members, that they didn’t like the deal,” Jessome told Global News.
“They certainly were not upset with the union, but they didn’t like the fact they were being dictated to take an offer with ultimatums and then when Bill 148 was introduced, that was the clincher.”
The release calls the government’s legislative interference “heavy-handed” and says members are justifiably upset.
“They want to have a chance to negotiate with their employer, have their issues heard, and vote on an agreement that hasn’t been dictated to them by Premier McNeil,” Jessome said.
An email from Finance Minister Randy Delorey says the province is surprised by the NSGEU changing their minds.
“The NSGEU previously recommended the deal to its membership on several occasions including November 13, November 16, November 18, Week of December 2, and Week of January 4th. The deal remains the same, nothing has changed,” he said.
“We put forward the best deal we felt was possible under our fiscal environment.”
Delorey added that the tentative agreement previously agreed upon offers things like wage increases and annual increases or increments for new and lower paid employees.