Essential Services Agreement in place for IWK

Today, the Council of Health Care Unions welcomed a decision by the Nova Scotia Labour Board which concluded an essential services agreement for health care workers at the IWK.

The Labour Board decision rejected the IWK’s request that the Council of Unions (which includes CUPE) provide additional notice periods beyond that required in the Trade Union Act in the event of a strike.

The notice period was the only outstanding issue which the Labour Board had to decide. All other matters, including staffing levels, had been agreed to by the IWK and the Council of Unions.

This ruling is significant and important for all unionized health care workers in Nova Scotia as the IWK had sought to place additional restrictions on when employees might be able to go on strike. By rejecting that restriction, the Labour Board has allowed the health care council to determine when it would conduct a strike, provided it has met the existing obligations under the Trade Union Act.

This decision is likely to set a precedent for other bargaining units affected by essential services legislation.