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The employees of the Village of Sainte-Anne-de-Madawaska, NB, who are members of Local 4576 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), were locked out this morning by the village council.

It is upsetting that a small municipality like Sainte-Anne, with only three municipal employees, would have chosen such an extreme measure instead of sitting down at the table and continuing negotiations,” said Gérald Leblanc, CUPE Representative.

When we began our negotiations, the village asked its employees to make concessions so that it could deal with its precarious financial situation. We acceded to some of the requests, but the municipality came back asking for even more concessions,” explained Leblanc.

The municipality wants to freeze salaries, reduce benefits and eliminate jobs, in addition to going after the seniority and guaranteed hours of work clause in the collective agreement.”

Instead of returning to the table to try to find some common ground, they have chosen to lockout their employees,” said Leblanc.

The collective agreement of Local 4576 expired in December 2009.