Nfld. & Labrador

Full-on wage freeze, but NAPE contract offer also includes no-layoff clause

The government and NAPE are remaining mum, but CBC has learned details of a proposed new deal for thousands of public servants.

Union, government reached tentative deal in November, still must be ratified by members

When the two sides reached a 'framework' in November, NAPE president Jerry Earle called it a positive step. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

Details of the contract offer between the Newfoundland and Labrador government and the province's largest union are leaking out, as members get set to vote this month on a contract that will squeeze their wallets. 

Executives with the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) are travelling the province and meeting with close to 20,000 members to discuss the deal.

Sources have told CBC News that it contains a wage freeze for the remainder of the contract.

As well, there will be no retroactive pay for the part of the contract that has already expired. NAPE members have been without a deal since March 2016. 

Softening the financial sting of the tentative deal is an agreement that rules out any layoffs for the term of the contract, according to sources. 

Severance payouts

CBC News has also learned that the provincial government is offering to pay out severance to all employees in this fiscal year. The full amount is not known, but it is expected to cost millions of dollars.

While that move would get the severance liability off the government's books, it's not known where that money will come from.

Newfoundland and Labrador Finance Minister Tom Osborne said the tentative framework for a deal came after 'a lot of work.' (Sherry Vivian/CBC)

The two sides reached a "framework" for a collective agreement in November, and at the time Finance Minister Tom Osborne said it came after "a lot of work, [and] very respectful dialogue."

Both sides are remaining mum on the details for now.

"It would be premature and unfair to discuss details of the agreement at this stage, as the vast majority of our members have not yet had an opportunity to see the full tentative agreement packages themselves," said NAPE President Jerry Earle in a statement to CBC News Monday afternoon.

Last May, then finance minister Cathy Bennett said bargaining with NAPE had stalled. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

Negotiations seemed to take a turn for the better when Osborne replaced former finance minister Cathy Bennett in August.

"It's been a very difficult and trying time, and now with a change in that portfolio I believe it's an opportunity to take a fresh step in collective bargaining," Earle said at the time.

NAPE has 15 bargaining units, and 200 ratification votes are planned around the province over the next three weeks.

With files from Fred Hutton

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