The St. John’s Board of Trade is adding its voice to those concerned about a no lay-off clause included in a tentative deal between government and NAPE.
The clause says that government “not use layoffs to effect Provincial budgetary expenditure reductions.”
The CEO of the St. John’s Board of Trade, Nancy Healey, says in addition to that there is no end date listed, and the duration maintains for the remainder of the collective agreement.
That, she says, is a huge concern.
Healey says layoffs are used to help reduce expenditures, especially in a province with the largest public sector in the country, 97 per 1000 compared to a national average of 67. The province has a spending problem and the majority of our spending is in salaries and benefits.
The provincial government has indicated that it intends to use attrition to reduce the workforce, but Richard Alexander of the Newfoundland and Labrador Employers’ Council says no layoffs make it nearly impossible to find cost savings.
He says if a health authority, for example, identifies positions that are redundant, the clause eliminates their ability to remove those positions and put the resources elsewhere.
Severance Payout Not a Signing Bonus: Ball
Meanwhile, Premier Dwight Ball says he doesn’t see a severance payout mentioned in the tentative deal with NAPE members as a signing bonus.
Ball says he views the cash as an earned benefit and he suggests the promise of a severance may have been seen as an incentive to hopeful employees.
The agreement, which is not ratified, dictates every government worker with at least one year of service will be paid out severance this year. Each eligible worker will receive a week’s wage for every year of service up to 20 years.
Ball says negotiating the elimination of severance is nothing new. Ball says he doesn’t see the payout as a signing bonus ,rather an earned benefit. He insists many other jurisdictions are doing things this way. He reminds that the deal has not yet been voted on by union members.