The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) has refused offers by the Union of Northern Workers (UNW) to agree to voluntary binding arbitration in order to settle three year old labour negotiations and avoid a strike by thousands of unionized government workers.
That is according to a news release from the UNW issued Tuesday afternoon.
“We know families are worried. For over three years, our members have been working hard, making compromises and trying to reach a fair deal,” stated UNW president Todd Parsons. “Binding Arbitration is an even handed process agreed to by both sides. Unfortunately, the government said no.”
The union states despite its comprehensive offers to settle outstanding issues, talks between the government and the NWT’s largest bargaining units at the GNWT and NTPC, broke down after the government refused to budge on many key issues.
It adds that the GNWT flatly rejected UNW’s offer of binding arbitration.
“We believe a fair deal is one that means stable jobs and keeps up with the cost of living,” continued Parsons. “Let’s be clear–if the government was serious about fixing this situation and settling this dispute they could do so today, right now, and simply agree to binding arbitration.”
In response, a government spokesperson stated in an email that the GNWT will be attending the February 8-9 mediation sessions with the union with the sole goal of concluding a new collective agreement.
More often than not, binding arbitration is used when mediation fails.