Manitoba

Court dates for challenge against province's wage-freeze bill set for end of 2019

A legal challenge against the Manitoba government’s wage-freeze bill won’t have a court hearing for more than a year.

Public-sector unions say bill violates their right to collective bargaining

A legal challenge against the Manitoba government's wage-freeze bill has court dates set for Nov. 18 to Dec. 5, 2019. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

A legal challenge against the Manitoba government's wage-freeze bill won't have a court hearing for more than a year.

Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench has set the dates for Nov. 18 to Dec. 5, 2019.

A coalition of public-sector unions brought the challenge against The Public Services Sustainability Act, which would freeze wages for all government employees for two years. The unions argue the bill violates their constitutionally recognized right to collective bargaining.

The bill was passed in spring 2017, but the province has yet to proclaim it into law, although recent contract negotiations with the province have resulted in wage agreements in line with those outlined in the bill.

The coalition recently lost an application for an injunction to stop the province from implementing the bill ahead of the constitutional case. They argue that taking away their right to bargain over wages hinders their ability to negotiate other issues, like working conditions and safety.

The province has argued it has the right to freeze wages in order reduce the deficit, and that unions can still negotiate wage increases if they can find cost savings in other places.

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