Nova Scotia

Halifax Water says it has contingency plan in event of strike

Halifax Water says homeowners and businesses will notice no change in operations if its unionized staff go on strike Wednesday, but the union disagrees.

The main sticking point in the negotiations is over pension reforms

Union president Dave Dort says only the unionized workers are trained to use the equipment and technology needed to keep the water moving. (CBC)

Halifax Water says homeowners and businesses will notice no change in operations if its unionized staff go on strike Wednesday, but the union disagrees.

Dave Dort, the president of CUPE Local 227 says union members have been trying to figure out how the city would cope with a strike.

"I can't speak for individual people, but I can say that there are people that are [at] management levels who themselves have questions on how they're going to deal with it," he said.

About 250 of the 350 unionized workers work outdoors.

Halifax Water spokesperson James Campbell says there is a contingency plan in place.

"The water will continue to flow. The wastewater will continue to be treated and the storm water system will continue to operate, so folks can be assured of that," he said.

However, Dort says only the unionized workers are trained to use the equipment and technology needed to keep the water moving.

"How are they going to deal with the potential of a water main break?" he said.

Campbell says there is no plan to use replacement workers, but he expects the private contractors Halifax Water relies on when water mains break or overflow will show up if called upon.

The labour dispute is over how to fund the defined benefits pension package of the workers.

The strike deadline for the union is 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, while managers could lock out the workers as early as 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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