Press Release - November 29, 2010
Chamber expresses concern to Minister regarding Bill 100
November 29rd, 2010 - Halifax, NS - The Halifax Chamber of Commerce shared concerns in a letter to with the Hon. Marilyn More, Minister of Labour and Workforce Development regarding clauses added to Bill 100, the Act to Establish a Unified Labour Board. “These clauses were added post-consultations with business groups in July 2010 and at recent briefings on the Bill,” says Chamber President Valerie Payn.
“The original intent of the Bill to create a unified Labour Board was laudable,” adds Payn, “However, the Bill looks to have moved far beyond that intention and, most importantly, without any consultation with business community.”
Issues of particular concern for the Chamber, and the over 1500 member organizations they represent, include the:
1) Establishment of a Labour Management Review Committee
“In regards to the establishment of a Labour Management Review Committee several questions arise: What is the proposed mandate? What would the responsibility of the committee be? and, importantly, what is the composition of this Committee?,” says Payn.
2) Requiring those who take over government functions under a contract for service to accept the union that represented the government workers who performed the function, the collective agreement that they operated under and, one can only assume, all the employees.
“The forced extension of successor rights to contracting out situations could significantly limit current and future government’s ability to explore private sector based solutions,” says Payn. “It would also significantly limit the contractor to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the service.”
3) Requiring employers to post a bond when appealing a labour decision “The comparison (used by the Minister) of the contracting out of government services to a corporate acquisition is not appropriate in that there is no purchase of the government function by another organization,” says Payn.
“This is more akin to hiring an outside consultant and telling them that they have to use only your employees to do the work. What’s the point of getting outside help?”
“I think it’s fair to say that no private sector company would agree to purchase another company if they had the kind of contracts that public sector workers have in place,” says Payn.
“It would seem that thoughtful reflection is needed to allow for full consultation on what these clauses will mean to business,” continues Payn. “With the tremendous fanfare last week releasing the province’s Economic Development Strategy – jobsHere, it would seem very untimely to be considering labour relations policy that could weigh heavily on Nova Scotia businesses, particularly the small business sector without proper consultation. “
“As we all know, small businesses make up the majority of businesses in our province. If you are asking business to ‘step up’, this is not the time to put barriers in their way,” adds Payn.
The Chamber encourages Minister More to delay this Bill, and take the time to have departmental staff discuss the new additional clauses with the business community. “It always takes much less time to get things right the first time-- than to fix them later,” says Payn.
For more information contact:
Director of Marketing and Communications
Halifax Chamber of Commerce
(902) 481-1240 cell: 499-6494