New Brunswick Tribune

Thursday, November 30, 2023

After reaching a tentative arrangement with the province, schools will return on Monday

Key takeaways:

  • New Brunswick schools will start after the provincial government and the CUPE reached a tentative deal late Saturday.
  • According to Drost, the two parties have also agreed on pension plans offered to Locals 2745 and 1253.

New Brunswick schools will resume on Monday after the provincial government and the Canadian Union of Public Employees reached a tentative agreement late Saturday.

In a press conference on Sunday, Premier Blaine Higgs remarked, “I realise a previous couple of weeks have been tough for students and parents.” “There is no substitute for classroom learning.”

After a more than two-week strike, more than 22,000 public sector workers are set to return to work.

Seven of the union’s locals secured tentative agreements Saturday night, according to Higgs.

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On Tuesday, community colleges, which employ CUPE members, are set to reopen to students.

Higgs added, “I’m optimistic.” “I believe people are eager to return to work.”

Higgs will not comment on the details of the contract.

Steve Drost, president of CUPE New Brunswick, said the previous few days’ negotiations have been unpleasant and tiresome. Still, he’s excited to offer it to employees after everything they’ve been through.

“Both sides were capable of reaching an agreement that was in the province’s best interests,” he said.

According to him, the increased wage offer will help workers keep up with the province’s rising cost of living. The ten strike-affected local governments will vote this week, with results likely by Friday.

“I believe we’ve reached an agreement on labour peace in New Brunswick. I’m convinced that we’ve accomplished some significant advances for workers here, “Drost remarked. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the workers.”

According to Drost, the two parties have also agreed on pension plans offered to Locals 2745 and 1253.

Previously, the premier had demanded that the locals convert their pension plans to the shared-risk scheme already in place for most other provincial workers, which had been a key source of contention in the labour conflict.

“We were able to get language in regards to a memorandum of understanding on that,” Drost said, “but it’s not necessarily a conversion to shared risk.”

He said a union-led court challenge to the back-to-work order, which pushed more than 2,000 healthcare workers back to work on Nov. 6 and was set to begin on Monday, is still ongoing. The order has already been withdrawn, according to the premier.

“We need to make sure people’s rights aren’t being violated,” Drost said.

Schools to reopen Monday after province, CUPE reach tentative agreement

Liquor stores will remain open.

A provisional agreement between the government and the union representing N.B. Liquor workers were also struck Saturday evening, according to the union’s president.

If a solution could not be struck over the weekend, the workers were poised to go on strike by Tuesday, which would have resulted in store closures.

“The negotiating group is thrilled. We’re relieved to have completed this task, “Local 963’s president, Jamie Agnew, stated.

He wants people to realise that panic buying is unnecessary. On the Wednesday before Remembrance Day, he added, provincial sales topped $2 million, far above predictions of roughly $500,000.

The union and management had already signed a tentative agreement a year ago.

“We believed we had a provisional agreement in November of 2020,” Agnew recalled, “but Mr Higgs squashed it, so we had to go through this process again, and we ended up taking a strike vote.”

Source: CBC news

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