CUPE STATEMENT on the GNB press conference of 5 November:

Premier Higgs should listen to the health experts AND the front-line workers who are calling on him to settle the labour crisis in a quick, fair, legal and respectful manner. After years of leaving front-line workers without a fair deal, after years of ignoring the voices of thousands of front-line workers calling out for help, why does the Premier act surprised when his own inaction is worsening the crisis of his own making?

The government says it has no choice to bring in a very heavy-handed back to work emergency order. This is not true:

  1. They always have the choice to bargain fairly at the table.
  2. PM Higgs’ own inaction in bargaining fair deals has pushed the very front-line workers we depend on to massively strike – in the middle of a pandemic.
  3. The Premier is using the pandemic situation to force workers back to work instead of respecting the negotiation process.
  4. There was no agreement made last night (Thursday, November 4) between the province and the small delegation from the Centralized Bargaining Team. GNB presented an offer, the delegation said it would take it back to the Team, with no promise to accept nor recommend it.

Recruitment and retention issues, underresourcing public services due to government ignoring the real needs of workers has only worsened during the pandemic. Yet, the Premier again ignores the voice of workers when he remains silent on saying why a strike happened in the first place.

Workers said they would be ready to end the strike if government considered the counterproposal we have made. The province has the money, the need is there, and the province should have never pushed workers to strike in the first place.