Attempts by the Opposition Liberals to amend a bill in the legislature to ensure workers in New Brunswick are able to negotiate fair contracts were blocked in the Legislature by the Conservatives and the People’s Alliance.
The Liberals introduced amendments to An Act to Amend the Essential Services in Nursing Homes Act that would remove conditions on arbitration if two sides were unable to reach an agreement.
“Our amendments would have prevented a strike in nursing homes and treated workers fairly,” said Opposition critic for Seniors Issues Gilles LePage. “Our goal was two-fold: to protect our seniors in nursing homes and to treat the women and men who look after our seniors fairly at the negotiating table.
“If two sides can’t reach a deal an arbitrator needs the ability to assess the arguments of both parties based on their merits. It’s just not fair for one side to dictate what an arbitrator can and can’t consider.”
LePage said all workers should be concerned about the heavy-handed approach by Premier Higgs and his Conservative caucus members and Kris Austin and Alliance caucus members.
“This is basically saying to workers, ‘we don’t care what your concerns are. That’s not important to us.’ That creates a toxic working environment and that impacts productivity.
“Premier Higgs has shown no interest in sitting down with workers and listening to their concerns at the negotiating table. It’s not just nursing home workers, he’s shown no interest in listening to anyone at the bargaining table. This bill only empowers him to continue ignoring the concerns of hard-working New Brunswickers. We think people need to be treated with more respect.”