“Labour relations in the province are at a breaking point and the Premier must do something to address it before this sends the province into another crisis. All ten CUPE locals who were in negotiations with the government have voted massively in favour of strike action. That represents over 20 000 workers that could go on strike, including hospital and school staff. The Nurses’ Union has recently rejected, for a 2nd time, the collective agreement proposed by the Higgs government and are considering strike action.
It is unacceptable that the Premier has let labour relations get to this point, he is creating a crisis within the fourth wave of a pandemic, especially within our healthcare and long-term care sectors. New Brunswick’s healthcare system is already on life support, the number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients is increasing every day, and our most of hospitals are at or above maximum capacity. The last thing our nurses and all our public service employees want is to strike. They want to be shown respect through improved working conditions and fair compensation. Premier Higgs isn’t trying to stop a strike and has lost the respect of these essential workers. His divide and conquer strategy is not going to work, New Brunswickers know these workers deserve fair and competitive wages and have been painted into a corner by this government. The ten CUPE locals with strike mandates have promised not to withdraw services until October 22nd because they want to continue working and providing services to New Brunswickers during this 4th wave of the pandemic.
Even after months and 3 years of unfair negotiations, the unions are giving the Premier two more weeks to come to his senses. It’s time for the Premier to set down his arrogance and do what is in the best interest of New Brunswickers which is to settle a fair deal with the unions. “
Leader of the Official Opposition