Payne predicts busy times ahead for union negotiators
The head of the province's Federation of Labour says negotiations with NAPE and CUPE will be a pressing item on the agenda this fall since provincial public service contracts expired earlier this year.
Lana Payne, Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour president, believes that's one of the reasons the province has been playing up its troubled financial position by talking about declining oil revenues and less money from Ottawa.
"They always want to lower expectations of the people that they're dealing with at that bargaining table," said Payne. "It's the job of the unions to be able to get a fair collective agreement for their members."
Payne said that doesn't necessarily mean there will be difficult negotiations or labour unrest, especially with other important issues, including a debate on Muskrat Falls, happening this fall.
"I think it's in the best interests, actually, of the province to want to get negotiations behind them," said Payne. "We have a lot of things we're going to be facing in our province — you want to be putting your best foot forward on all of that."
Payne said a priority will be ensuring that wages and benefits for younger workers are not clawed back.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees and the Canadian Union of Public Employees represent approximately 25,000 employees with the provincial government.