No ‘jumping for joy’ over corrections contract: NSGEU

The largest union in Nova Scotia worries that a new contract for correctional workers signals rocky times for other unionized employees about to negotiate with the province.

An arbitration board recently awarded correctional workers a 2.9 per cent wage hike each year, retroactive to November 2006.

But this doesn’t keep correctional employees in the province in line with their colleagues at jails across Canada, the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union said Tuesday.

In addition, said NSGEU president Joan Jessome, the arbitrator cited Nova Scotia’s large debt and troubled economic times as reasons for not giving workers a larger wage increase.

Jessome said this doesn’t bode well for other locals and unions about to try to secure their own settlements.

“We’re not jumping for joy by any means,” she told CBC News.

“It’s obvious that the arbitrator took the changes in the economy into consideration when she made her decision, and that makes us a little bit nervous considering we are going into a big round of bargaining.”

Jessome said health-care workers, university staff and Cape Breton Regional Police will all be at the negotiating table in 2009.

Correctional workers had to accept an arbitrated settlement because they don’t have the right to strike, she said.



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