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(Halifax) Contract talks for 3,000 Nova Scotia hospital workers will resume in the New Year, with some slow but steady progress finally being reported.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents workers in 35 hospitals across the province excluding the Capital District says the employer has finally started to actually do some bargaining, although several major issues remain outstanding.

CUPE Hospital Co-ordinator Wayne Thomas says, This is in direct contrast to previous meetings we have had since the resumption of talks in September.

As a result of this, says Thomas, we have scheduled three more days of bargaining with the assistance of a Conciliation Officer, for January 9, 10 and 11.

Says Thomas, This next set of talks in January will be critical in determining whether or not we can actually negotiate a settlement with these 35 hospital employers, or have to proceed to Final Offer Selection (FOS).

Without seeing the employers final positions on wages, job security, contracting out, seniority and other major items, says Thomas, it is hard to know if we will achieve our ultimate goal of negotiating a settlement.

Final Offer Selection was introduced by the Hamm government when it shelved Bill 68 earlier this year, and agreed to a form of binding arbitration for hospital workers.

Opeiu 491

For information:

Wayne Thomas, CUPE Health Care Co-ordinator
(902) 752-2244 (o)
John McCracken, CUPE Communications Representative
(902) 455-4180 (o)