Nova Scotia

Cole Harbour Place workers continue to strike

Unionized employees at Cole Harbour Place have been on strike since early May and it doesn't look like it will end anytime soon.
The NSPEU Local 22 has been on strike since May 10. (CBC)

Unionized employees at Cole Harbour Place have been on strike since early May and it doesn't look like the strike will end anytime soon.  

The striking workers say they are only making $10.40 per hour, a much lower rate than workers at other Halifax Regional Municipality recreational facilities.  

Their union, the Nova Scotia Public Employees Union Local 22, said the workers don't get paid extra for working overtime or holidays.  

When the strike started back on May 10th there were 25 employees involved. That number has now dwindled down to 14 because some workers have returned to work at the facility as contractors.

Union member Chris van de Rijt said that's just one of the many tough pills picketers have had to swallow.  

"They contracted out cleaning work within the building and security. They've also got strike breakers, pinch hitters, whatever you like to call it, scabs, taking over the work for some of the operations stuff which is the department I work in," he said.

There was a small but spirited group of picketers in front of Cole Harbour Place on Wednesday.  

"Now it's a real fight," said John Mason, president of the union.

"But our guys have really been great, they've come everyday and they're been upbeat. Nobody has really gotten down in spirits or anything, we're just getting a lot stronger."

Dave Keeping, a member of Cole Harbour Place, said he thinks the striking workers should get a raise.  

"They're not asking for much," Keeping said, "a small raise. It seems like they're going to starve them out."

Ralph Brooks is another member of the facility.

"I really do feel for these guys because I know what some of them make in here and it's just ridiculous, it really is," Brooks said.

"I don't know what the quick fix is. I know Cole Harbour Place doesn't have a pile of money to heap on them right away."

Cole Harbour Place has offered the striking workers a lump sum of $1250 and salary increases totalling 9.8 per cent over three years.

The union has rejected the offer.