Nova Scotia

NDP looking at first contract legislation

Some business groups in Nova Scotia are sounding an alarm over plans by the Dexter government to help unions get a foothold in non-union workplaces.

Some business groups in Nova Scotia are sounding an alarm over plans by the Dexter government to help unions get a foothold in non-union workplaces.

Business and labour groups have been called to a meeting Friday morning to learn about the NDP's plans for first contract legislation.

First contract legislation would set rules for what happens when a union and employer are unable to reach a first collective agreement.

Business groups, like the Construction Association of Nova Scotia, are already worried.

"This does tip the balance in favour of unionism," said the association's Duncan Williams.

He's concerned the legisation will impose a temporary contract while a dispute is sent to arbitration. The outcome could be a wage settlement that companies can't afford.

"Our concern is a contract is imposed that doesn't give an employer any ability to deal with that from an operational point of view ... that could put companies out of business," said Williams.      He said this kind of legislation makes it easer for a union to get its foot in the door because it removes the threat of a strike or lockout.    The department of labour is promising consultation before going ahead.

The opposition Liberals are worried about the impact on businesses.        "Give me a reason why anyone would want to come to a province, have the highest taxed jurisdiction, now force labour negotiations onto them ... this is a job killer," said leader Stephen McNeil.

 

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