One of the hallmarks of the Prime Minister`s time at the helm of the government was a difficult negotiation, which often led treaties and laws to shake the terms of agreements in favour of his government. Many of these treaties are now being challenged in court because they are unconstitutional. The contract for some 1,100 highway workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, expires on October 31. On the same day, the eight collective agreements for some 17,000 full-time jobs at the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the IWK Health Centre expire. Of the 308 collective agreements with the public service, 68 percent are being demasked or about to stop, according to a state government spokesman. The breakdown includes 44 expired contracts and 165 contracts that expire at the end of 2020. However, the next day, McNeil said that efforts would immediately begin to find new ways to generate revenue and find potential savings. The Prime Minister said the public service must be part of those efforts. A shocking deficit and a statement by Premier Stephen McNeil that a settlement would not wait could lead to difficult contract negotiations on the horizon for much of the Nova Scotia Public Service. The contract for approximately 7,000 public servants, represented by the Government of Nova Scotia and the General Employees Union, expires on March 31, 2021.
“If it`s about the fact that work wants to fight more and more to make the province not solvent, it would of course mean that there should be fewer people… They will have to make that decision, and I look forward to continuing to work with them. The Nova Scotia Teachers` Union, which represents more than 9,000 people, has been negotiating since its contract expired at the end of July 2019. A budget update last month estimated the deficit at about $853 million, which is due to the fact that COVID-19 virtually closed the province`s economy as of March. There are a large number of small contracts between the Department of Health and the Department of Community Services, as well as 65 emergency medical care employees represented by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. Most other major contracts are also about to stop. Other ongoing negotiations are the Nova Scotia Government Lawyers Association, which represents approximately 75 lawyers. The fact that a contract has expired or is about to expire does not mean that both parties are at the negotiating table. “People need to understand that for four months there have been many people in this province who have lost all their wages, while others have continued to be paid, and I think we need to be aware of that,” he told reporters last month. McNeil will be a mitigating factor in the tone and approach to the negotiating tables. Finance Minister Karen Casey said at the time that a change in the financial environment would require hard work and would not be quick, and said that layoffs were not something the government was considering doing as part of the effort. After the Prime Minister announces his retirement and a new Liberal leader is elected next February, McNeil may not be in office when many of these negotiations begin.