February 14, 2012
For Immediate Release
Saskatoon – SEIU-West members and leadership welcomed today’s announcement from the Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, Don Morgan. Mr. Morgan is now seeking input from the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) and its affiliates in order to develop an essential services model. Parties should be working towards an essential services model that will ensure public safety, and at the same time, will not diminish the bargaining power of the providers.
Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West stated: “The decision of Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Ball is truly valued by those of us who have repeatedly sought participation in this process for the last four years. Four years ago today, SEIU-West shared our brief with the [then] Minister of Labour, Rob Norris. While the contents our brief did not positively influence the legislation at the time, the fact that The Public Services Essential Services Act (PSES Act) has now been declared to be unconstitutional does provide us with a sense that the government may recognize a need to be more inclusive with organized labour.”
The letter forwarded today by the Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety sets out a timeline of March 2, 2012 for the submission of written views by the SFL and its affiliates.
Cape noted, “We have waited for four years to begin a conversation with the government on this issue and we require sufficient time to complete the process. This involves the opportunity to sit down with the Minister and determine the kind of information we need to share to lend to a better understanding between the parties. We believe this will naturally connect to what is appropriate as an ‘essential service’ for Saskatchewan people.”
The decision of Justice Ball acknowledged the broad application of the PSES Act and noted that there was an imbalance of power in favour of employers under the Act. He pointed to the absence of an independent dispute mechanism and he confirmed that the Saskatchewan legislation comes far too close to prohibiting the right to strike.
“We continue to be hopeful that our dialogue will result in a positive outcome for our future negotiations processes and we are eager for all parties to reach a resolution together – for the public good and to support worker’s rights,” added Cape.
SEIU-West represents approximately twelve thousand working people in the province of Saskatchewan. They include members who work in healthcare, education, municipalities, community-based organizations, retirement homes and other sectors.
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For more information, contact:
Christine Miller, Communications Coordinator – 306.652.1011 ext. 2250
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