Nova Scotia's opposition parties say the NDP's flirtation with first contract arbitration threatens jobs in the province, including thousands at the Michelin tire plant.

A labour board is studying the idea of first contract arbitration, which would guarantee an arbitrated settlement if negotiations for a first contract fail.

Though the board hasn't reached any conclusions, opposition members are sounding the alarm. They point to reports that Michelin, which employs 3,400 Nova Scotians, is threatening to leave if this kind of legislation if adopted. 

'Listen to companies like Michelin and stop with this crazy idea' — Jamie Baillie, PC leader

PC Leader Jamie Baillie said he considers first contract arbitration to be a job killer.

"I just wish the premier would listen to companies like Michelin and stop with this crazy idea. Nothing good can come from first contract arbitration and Michelin is making that point," Baillie said Thursday.

Premier Darrell Dexter confirmed that Michelin opposed the proposal in a recent meeting, but he said the company didn't threaten to leave.

"They don't want any change to labour legislation so their position on that has never changed," Dexter told reporters.

Michelin couldn't be reached for comment Thursday.

The French-owned company has plants in Granton, Bridgewater and Waterville. Several attemps to unionize workers have failed.

Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil said the legislation is unfair to Michelin and other companies because it means a third-party would tell them how to pay their workers.

Dexter said he has a good relationship with Michelin and expects that to continue.

He noted that 80 per cent of Canadians are already covered by first contract arbitration and that it was adopted in Newfoundland and Labrador by the Danny Williams government.

with files from The Canadian Press