Mediator halts talks in Nursing Home dispute

No more talks are scheduled between the New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes and CUPE this week.

In a statement, Social Development Minister Dorothy Sheppard says the mediator has directed the parties to take a temporary break, but stressed this is not an end to negotiations and the government remained confident a deal can be signed in the near future.

She said, "We remain optimistic that the discussions this week and the enhanced offer from the employer will build towards an agreement that is fair to all parties."

According to the statement, Sheppard says contingency plans are in place to make sure care in the province's nursing homes will continue.

CUPE says its negotiators are frustrated that New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes and the government have "consistently rejected any meaningful wage increases for nursing home workers."

In a press release issued this morning, CUPE says the employer tabled a proposal of a three-year contract with a median wage increase of 10.5 cents an hour, despite it already being rejected.

Sharon Teare, President of the New Brunswick Council of Nursing Home Unions, says she is "appalled to hear the employer say nursing home workers don't even deserve a fair and equitable wage increase."

Teare added accepting the proposal would amount to a more than 2.4% wage cut.

According to the press release, CUPE says it suspects the government is engaging in deliberate stall tactics in an attempt to secure a long-term stay order from the courts tomorrow.