Nova Scotia reaches tentative agreement with health care unions, avoiding strike

NSGEU President Jason MacLean speaks at a news conference in Dartmouth, N.S., on June 18, 2019.

Nova Scotia has reached a tentative agreement with the unions representing many of the province’s health care workers, avoiding a potential strike.

In a release, the Health Care Council of Unions says a tenatative agreement was reached with Nova Scotia Health and the IWK late Tuesday.

That tentative agreement will now be brought forward to the almost 7,500 members from the NSGEU, CUPE and Unifor for a ratification vote.

“This agreement includes a wage offer and language improvements that are reasonable and recognize the significant contributions health care workers make each and every day,” said NSGEU President Jason MacLean in a release.

The committee representing the unions is recommending ratification of the agreement, and has suspended the strike vote that started on Monday.

Details of the agreement will not be shared until members have had the opportunity to review and vote on the agreement.

“After five days of conciliation, we believe the deal put on the table late Tuesday afternoon was one that indeed was enough to reverse the decision to ask our membership to contemplate strike action,” added Les Duff, Acting President of Local 8920.

When CTV News spoke to the union leaders on Monday, they said that wages were their number one priority, and that they were asking for annual raises of three per cent for the next four years.

“I’m pleased that the bargaining committee was able to reach a tentative agreement to bring back to these members who have been on the frontline of the pandemic for more than a year now,” added Unifor Atlantic Regional Director Linda MacNeil.

The Health Care Council of Unions bargaining committee is made up of six members from NSGEU, three from CUPE and one from Unifor.