The agreement will involve greater coherence between hospitals and a wage increase of 0.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent, retroactive to 2014. The Nova Scotia Health Council is made up of members of the Unifor, NSGEU, CUPE and NSNU negotiating committee and has been trying to negotiate a new collective agreement since October 2016. Committees representing administrative professionals, support and care are preparing to begin negotiations as soon as an agreement has been reached on health care. This board is composed of Unifor, CUPE, NSNU and NSGEU. This board is now responsible for collective bargaining for all acute hospital workers in Nova Scotia. By the end of 2017, the Council had made minimal progress and almost total closure at the negotiating table. A conciliator was then invited to intervene and yet no real progress was made. As a result, last week, members of the Public Health Committee gave their bargaining commission a 93% strike mandate. The 20-member Caregivers` Council began collective bargaining in early September, and meetings with employers continued until early this week, significantly reducing the issues Mr. Kaplan faces. By the end of the week, Mr. Kaplan will be submitted in writing and we expect him to issue his order setting out the terms of the new collective care agreement shortly after verifying the submissions.
The four bargaining units will continue to negotiate with management. What is new in this agreement is that all issues that cannot be resolved at the negotiating table will be sent to an external arbitrator independent of the Ombudsman. Although the employers` negotiators for essential services departed from the discussions last summer, a consensus emerged to return to the table on March 6. The negotiation of an ESA is now a precondition for the union, since Bill 37, a new liberal law, imposes it before a strike or union action can take place. Given that the Commission and employers have based all proposals on the current NSGEU Local Collective Agreement 42, the Commission estimates that this is close to 70% of the road to an interim agreement for iWK and NASHA. However, the most difficult and controversial issues, such as benefits, wages, job security, pensions, job vacancy notices, working hours, sick leave and redistribution, have not yet been addressed. Once the main services negotiations are concluded in the coming months, the Council expects further progress in negotiations on the new collective agreements. All monetary improvements to this new collective agreement take effect today, with the exception of those in which the agreement sets a different date.
For example, some salary increases are retroactive to 2016 and some will only take place in the future. All other provisions, including language changes, will not come into effect until February 1, 2019, unless otherwise stated. This delay allows both parties to prepare for the necessary changes. During this period, transitional collective agreements referred to by employers, unions and nurses since 2011 remain in force. As you know, the conciliation agreement between the four unions (NSGEU, NSNU, CUPE and Unifor) and the Nova Scotia Health Authority and IWK Pediatric Hospital will conclude by the end of 2018 all collective agreements for the four collective agreement units in the professions, health, support services and administration.