Finance minister clarifies March 31 deadline

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Marathon bargaining sessions to focus Wednesday on wages and job security

GOVERNMENT TODAY CLARIFIED the March 31 deadline for access to the $1 billion fund for early contract renewals.

Finance minister Carole Taylor told reporters Tuesday that a tentative settlement reached by March 31 would qualify for the one-time signing bonuses paid from this fund.

Up until today, government and health employers have said that contracts would need to be ratified by March 31 to qualify for signing bonuses.

“Bargaining to an arbitrary deadline does not help us address the complex and important issues facing our members in health care,” says Facilities Bargaining Association spokesperson Judy Darcy.

“This has been extremely problematic since employers have only been willing to negotiate with us on the critical issue of job security for the past two days.”

And discussions on job security continued Tuesday with several face-to-face sessions with health employers on the topic.

“We’re making some progress on the issue,” says Darcy. “But it’s difficult territory given the government’s plans to expand the privatization of health care services.”

Despite today’s clarification of the March 31 deadline for signing bonuses, the FBA is pressing for a tentative agreement as soon as possible.

Meetings of HEU locals in the sector are being organized and the schedule will be adjusted as required in order to provide members with adequate notice of ratification votes.