Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

May 23, 2012 15:55 ET

Negotiations Break Down Between the Government of New Brunswick and the New Brunswick Crown Prosecutors' Association and the New Brunswick Crown Counsel Association

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 23, 2012) - The New Brunswick Crown Counsel Association and the New Brunswick Crown Prosecutors' Association have been trying to renew their collective agreement with the Government of New Brunswick since September 20, 2011. On Tuesday, May 22, 2012, it became clear to the teams and their negotiator from the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada that this government is not interested in bargaining fairly.

The Province's negotiators have been given a clear mandate from the Minister of Finance to impose a two year wage deal and put an end to the retirement benefit for new hires that has existed for decades. Very little of substance is being offered in return. "Just because the Province is trying to tighten up finances by running the public service like a business doesn't mean that, as an employer, government should be allowed to treat its employees unfairly", said Eric Boucher, President of the New Brunswick Crown Counsel Association.

On April 26, 2012, the associations made a reasonable offer that would have included the government's demands and fixed a long standing problem with the way management administers movement on the pay grid. The associations' proposal would have cost the government very little but would have settled a long-standing grievance of senior government lawyers. The government negotiators came back from discussions with high level bureaucrats and government officials to say that the offer had been rejected. There was no rational explanation for the rejection of the proposal.

"This has been a long and sometimes frustrating process", observed Chris Titus, President of the New Brunswick Crown Prosecutors' Association. "Our collective agreement expired on March 31, 2011. We couldn't start bargaining when we wanted to because the new government was not prepared to negotiate. Things were going reasonably well until the government suspended bargaining again in January because they were trying to work on their budget. Since then they have basically refused to consider any of our ideas. Their tactics are tantamount to bargaining in bad faith", Mr. Titus said.

"This is a major slap in the face to the lawyers who represent the government in complex legal matters, write the legislation that keeps the government functioning and prosecute those who break the law in the Province of New Brunswick" said David Calvert, the PIPSC negotiator who has been working with the associations since they were certified in 2010. The first collective agreement that was negotiated came with 0% wage increases for the two years of the agreement. "We are well aware of the economic problems faced by this government and we have been accommodating in the past, but that doesn't mean that Minister Higgs can just roll over people as if their concerns don't matter", he said. "We know that the negotiators we have been dealing with can't make any major decisions without first checking with the boss. Perhaps Minister Higgs will find out the hard way that he has to treat his employees with respect."

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada represents some 60,000 professionals and scientists across Canada's public sector.

Contact Information

  • David Calvert
    613-668-6047

    Andre Lortie
    613-790-9374