The Canadian Union of Public Employees says it has “clearly shown a movement” on its wage demands during three days of negotiations, but the province has ended the talks. “Higgs walks away and forces strike,” CUPE said in a notice to members. The union has scheduled a press conference for Wednesday at 10 a.m.
Ten locals representing over 22,000 workers are now in a legal strike position.
They include workers in health, education, transportation and agriculture, as well as social workers, prison guards, court reporters and staff from WorkSafeNB, New Community Colleges. -Brunswick and NB Liquor.
CUPE says its negotiators have offered to accept annual wage increases of three per cent over four years. The union was looking for five percent increases. The union’s notice says the province was offering annual increases of two percent over five years.
The province has refused to back down demands for pension concessions, CUPE says.
In September, Premier Blaine Higgs said the union’s wage demands were unaffordable. But CUPE said a financial update earlier this month projecting a surplus of $ 38 million this year shows there is enough money to pay for the pay hike it wants.