The Office of the Official Opposition has been informed that the Higgs Government is asking to delay the disbursement of retroactive pay to some union members beyond the usual 90-day period.
“This is an attempt from the Higgs Government to punish workers for going on strike last year,” says Official Opposition Leader, Roger Melanson. “The blatant disrespect of this government towards public sector workers is appalling. It’s retroactive pay, which means the work has already been done. They have earned this money, now give it to them!”
With inflation rates, housing costs, and fuel prices on the rise, the interim Liberal Leader believes this isn’t the time to withhold money from New Brunswickers.
“The cost of living is going up significantly, and many New Brunswickers are struggling to make ends meet. It’s heartless to ask workers to wait a few more months before giving them the money they are legally entitled to,” says Mr. Melanson. “Some of these contracts go as far back as 2017, they’ve waited long enough.”
In October 2021, Premier Higgs referred to the retroactive pay as a “quite a significant Christmas bonus” during a press conference on the labour disputes.
“When he was trying to convince the population that public sector workers should accept his deal, the Premier seemed to indicate they would receive their retroactive pay around Christmas” says Melanson. “Unless he meant Christmas in July, he has some explaining to do.”