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Thursday, 26 May 2011 09:22

Wall happy with record of dealing with labour

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By Chris Jaster — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Premier Brad Wall is happy with his government’s record on dealing with labour despite two unions implementing job action.

Saskatchewan’s teachers and health sciences workers are upset with their contract negotiations and have both been on strike within the last two weeks in protest. The Saskatchewan Cancer Agency is also considering strike action.

Despite all of this, Wall, the MLA for Swift Current, doesn’t believe there is labour unrest in Saskatchewan.

“Remember that almost 90 per cent of the public employees of the government have actually signed,”
said Wall. “We’ve settled agreements without work interruption and without strikes. I’m not sure people thought that would be the case when the Sask. Party won the election just three and a half years ago, but it is. We have a good track record of good-faith collective bargaining and settling these things.

“The HSAS situation still remains. I think the employers, SAHO and the health regions, have made the case that the offer that’s on the table makes our wages very competitive with other jurisdictions in the west. There was one area where we weren’t very competitive and that’s paramedics and we went in and adjusted that offer and increased so they could get competitive. Now we hope to get back to the table and resolve it there.”

Wall didn’t seem to be shaken by the HSAS strike that occurred in Swift Current May 13 either saying it was their right. He is, however, proud his government passed the essential services legislation. He feels that piece of legislation protects the general public while still allowing some people to strike.

Despite possibly facing at least three labour groups on strike during an election year, Wall didn’t seem that concerned. He believes his party’s track record will speak for itself come November.

“I think people want to make sure we’re balancing the collective bargaining process and its integrity with the public service delivery in the province and the fair treatment of public sector employees, but also that we’re balancing it with affordability and making sure that we, in this province, maintain the Saskatchewan advantage, which is balanced budgets, less debt, lower taxes and a growing economy,” he said.

Click here to read what Wall thought of the most recent session of the legislature.

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