(St Johns) - Bad faith bargaining caused public sector talks to collapse today in St Johns as Premier Danny Williams proclaimed his intention to introduce legislation to force 20,000 striking public sector workers back to work.
Union leaders expect that concessions will be legislated along with back-to-work orders. In the meantime, leaders from both CUPE and NAPE are urging their members to remain strong, stand tall and fortify their picket lines.
We cant react to Williams incompetence, but we will respond in the best interests of our province and its people, said Wayne Lucas, President of CUPE Newfoundland & Labrador. Danny Williams has created a deliberate crisis, but we will remain as responsible as weve been from the beginning.
Workers have been on strike since April 1st, fighting provincial wage freezes and forced concessions such as reduced sick leave entitlements.
This is textbook bad faith bargaining and an attack on workers rights, plain and simple, said Lucas. Ten minutes into our meeting the Premier said he would legislate, so we knew that he was not interested in a real discussion. His bargaining has been pure PR from the beginning.
Passage of back-to-work legislation might take place as early as next Tuesday, April 27th, but could take as long as 10 days to pass the House of Assembly. Both CUPE and NAPE are waiting to see what the legislation entails. Lucas said that CUPE would be consulting with its lawyers as soon as the unions get it.
We will consult fully with our lawyers on the legislations implications, Lucas added. And we will be talking with the Newfoundland & Labrador Federation of Labour, and other labour bodies, to seek their support and solidarity.
For more information:
Wayne Lucas, President, CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador, cell 727 2509