NR Group Bargaining News
As most of you will be aware, collective bargaining was postponed following the election last October. This included our Group’s sessions planned for November and February. The election of the new Liberal Government prompted a review by Treasury Board of their bargaining mandate, which took a bit longer than anticipated.
In the absence of face to face meetings, both the Institute and your Bargaining Team have been busy preparing for the resumption of bargaining and were hopeful of a more productive dialogue when next we met with Treasury Board.
Your Team took the opportunity, during the delay in bargaining, to meet for three days in February to prepare for the resumption of bargaining. Our meeting was productive and focussed on a review of our extensive demands as well as a review of pay data. The pay data was taken from the salary/compensation surveys undertaken by the provincial licensing bodies and was used to provide a comparison of our current pay scales. Not surprisingly the data shows that compensation in the private sector is higher.
As previously reported, our demands that were presented to the Employer were extensive and based on three priorities derived from the membership survey and the bargaining conference. The priorities identified were:
Professional Recognition & Development
Recruitment & Retention
Based on our three priority areas, our package of demands was reviewed and ranked to assist the team in what we hoped would be a productive session when we met with the Employer over three days, on March 22-24.
The meeting was disappointing. The Employer restated their priorities, originally tabled under the previous Government. These include a new sick leave & short term disability plan and a pay increase of 0.5% per year for 4 years as the major items. They also emphasised that there would be no settlement until their major issue of sick leave is settled.
The Employer presented a modified Sick Leave/Short Term Disability proposal addressing some of the concerns with previous versions of the proposal which PIPSC had identified at the NR and other bargaining tables. Problems remain and PIPSC is working collectively to develop a coordinated response to the Employer’s proposal, one which will protect the interests and security of our members.
Discussion continued on a number of issues including our proposals to update certain outdated language to reflect modern day realities. Although there was no substantive change being advocated, we were surprised at the Employer’s lack of interest in introducing language that did not currently exist in other agreements. The message seemed to be that the employer is only interested in standardizing agreements, and therefore has no interest or mandate to discuss useful change.
In an effort to move these negotiations along more quickly, your team presented a number of proposed meeting dates. Unfortunately we could only schedule one further meeting in June. It is looking increasingly likely that this round of negotiations will drag on as it appears the Employer has no sense of urgency and one wonders if they have a real mandate from the Government to reach a settlement.
Overall whilst we did agree to some minor issues the general feeling of the Team was one of delays and frustration. On a more positive note your Team has been engaged and continued to work during the delays, and will continue to do so.
If you have any specific questions or issues, please contact any one of the Bargaining Team members, who will pass them along for an appropriate response. Contact information and updates are available at the NR Group Web page.