St. Johns, NL, April 22, 2004At a 1:00 p.m. news conference, NAPE and CUPE released a copy of a letter to the premier in which the unions explained that government could resolve the current strike without using the extraordinary legislative powers of the House of Assembly. As the unions letter set out:
While it has been, and continues to be, our preference to negotiate a collective agreement, we believe it is unlikely that the parties will now be able to resolve this matter through negotiations.
In a final attempt to resolve this dispute without the introduction of extraordinary legislation, and in an effort to resume the provision of public services, we are now proposing that the parties use the provisions of the Public Service (Collective Bargaining) Act to resolve this matter.
NAPE and CUPE are prepared to instruct our members to return to work on Friday, April 23, 2004 and refer the remaining outstanding issues to binding adjudication pursuant to Sections 32 to 37 of the Public Service (Collective Bargaining) Act.
The letter was faxed to the premier at 12:45 p.m. today, and the unions are awaiting his response.
The three outstanding issues are sick leave, school board employees hours of work, and wages.
Some sixteen thousand members of NAPE, the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees, together with some four thousand members of CUPE, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, have been engaged in a legal strike since April 1, 2004.
For further information, contact:
(709) 687-8551 (cell)
(613) 878-1431 (cell)