After almost a year on strike, there may be light at the end of the tunnel for journalists at the Chronicle Herald.
Frank Campbell, vice-president of the Halifax Typographical Union, said the union and the newspaper's management team may be heading back to the bargaining table.
"There's been some off-the-record talks between the lawyers for each side and the thought is that those talks are the basis for some real negotiating," Campbell said.
The union and the Herald had been planning to face off before the Nova Scotia Labour Board over an unfair labour complaint filed by the union. That was adjourned Tuesday.
Day of protests planned for Jan. 23
"We're just glad the union is now focused on bargaining to achieve a contract that works for both parties," said Ian Scott, chief operating officer at the Chronicle Herald, in a statement.
Campbell said the two sides decided to adjourn the hearing.
"In the interim it was decided, mutually I thought, that the best way forward would be to adjourn the pending unfair labour practice hearing," Campbell said.
The union will mark the one-year anniversary of the strike on Jan. 23. It's planning a day of protest, with demonstrations in Halifax, Sydney, Antigonish, Bridgewater, Yarmouth and Wolfville.
The two sides could be in the midst of bargaining on that date, but Campbell said that's more to do with logistics. Dave Wilson, the union's lead negotiator, is busy most of this week, but hopes to be available before the weekend.
"The lawyers have been setting the groundwork so hopefully [they'll meet] by the end of this week or early next week," Campbell said.
Seeking 'sustainable solution'
The two sides briefly met in person Dec. 19 with the labour board. In November, they exchanged offers through a conciliator, but that didn't lead to bargaining. After a bitter year-long strike, both sides now seem eager to reset negotiations.
"The company remains hopeful for a sustainable resolution to this disruption," said the Herald's Ian Scott. "A solution that sees our employees treated fairly and provides the basis for the Chronicle Herald to continue serving Nova Scotia."
Even if the strike ends, many of the 55 editorial staff on the picket line won't return to work at the newspaper.
"There are some layoffs planned and the union would be downsized considerably," Campbell said.