Halifax nurses who walked out told to explain their actions

Nova Scotia's premier is not offering any sympathy to nurses working in the Capital District Health Authority who have been ordered to attend meetings about the illegal strike earlier this month.

Premier says Capital Health employees face 'consequences'

Striking nurses protest outside the Halifax Infirmary in Halifax on April 3, 2014. (The Canadian Press)

Nova Scotia's premier is not offering any sympathy to nurses working in the Capital District Health Authority who have been ordered to attend meetings about the illegal strike earlier this month.

About 150 people have been told to explain their actions in the illegal strike April 1, forcing the cancellation of dozens of surgeries.

The Nova Scotia Labour Board then handed out a cease-and-desist order after some nurses did not report for their shifts.

Tensions continued to rise ahead of a legal strike that was ended by essential-services legislation three days later.

Stephen McNeil says he supports Capital Health.

"You cannot just allow an illegal job action to happen and no consequences. The employees were well aware of what the consequences would be. Now the employer is calling them in and they'll have a conversation on what action follows that," he said.

McNeil says it's up to individual nurses to decide whether they want to remain Capital Health employees or to leave.

Interim NDP Leader Maureen MacDonald says authorities should listen to the nurses, not punish them.

John Gillis, a spokesman for the Capital District Health Authority, said activities that will be investigated include whether union members failed to show up for a scheduled shift or whether they were genuinely ill when some called in sick.

Gillis said disciplinary measures could include suspensions or letters of reprimand.

Joan Jessome, head of the union which represents 2,400 nurses in the Halifax area, said the move by management is an unnecessary intimidation tactic.

The nurses who were involved in the contract dispute primarily work at four places in the Halifax area: the QEII Health Sciences Centre, Nova Scotia Hospital, East Coast Forensic Hospital and Public Health Services.

With files from the Canadian Press

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