Talks between Sherbrooke Village, province to resume Monday
'The government is the one that's calling the shots here,' says NSGEU president Jason MacLean
Employees at Sherbrooke Village in Guysborough County, N.S., are hoping one last scheduled day of conciliation will help them get a new collective agreement.
The union and the employer, the Sherbrooke Restoration Commission, held conciliation talks last Wednesday and will do so again on Monday.
Jason MacLean, president of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, said he's hopeful a deal will be reached, but that will likely depend on the provincial government, as funding for Sherbrooke Village comes from the province.
"The government is the one that's calling the shots here, ultimately, if there's going to be a deal made or not," he said.
Remuneration is one of the outstanding issues.
"The employer just had a bare-bones offer to them that was quite insulting, and even the government wasn't going as low as the employer was wanting to go," MacLean said.
The commission proposed a wage increase of 1.5 per cent over four years.
"We're trying to get them in line with the other collective agreements, because that seems like they've been coming up behind everybody," MacLean said.
Other issues include granting hours based on seniority and the number of weeks of employment per year.
"If a person just started last week or just got hired, they could be given a longer week than somebody that's been there for 20 years," MacLean said.
Employees have also seen a reduction in the number of weeks they work per year. MacLean said employees used to work 23 or 24 weeks per year, but now many only get about 17. Sherbrooke Village is a seasonal museum.
MacLean said the conciliation last week was productive.
"There was a lot of movement on both sides. But the last word we got from the employer is, they're in a place where they're comfortable to move forward, but they just need the blessing of government. So we're waiting to hear from government."
No one from the employer or the union local was available for an interview on the weekend.