Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu MLA Pat Angnakak pushed for an explanation why the Government of Nunavut has not entered binding arbitration with the Nunavut Employees Union (NEU), which has been working under an expired collective agreement since September 2018.
Human Resources Minister David Akeeagok replied in the legislative assembly on May 27, “Arbitration is one tool, but both parties have to agree. From our perspective, I still see that there is room to negotiate for this agreement with the Nunavut Employees Union and I stand firm to see that agreement being negotiated in good faith by both parties.”
The NEU recently encouraged its membership to contact every MLA to urge the territorial government to return to the bargaining table in good faith.
Akeeagok pointed out that the NEU has filed a statement of claim through the Nunavut Court of Justice accusing the GN of negotiating in bad faith, “and we disagree with that,” the minister said.
“It is before the courts on that, but that should not stop these ongoing negotiations and I would encourage both our collective bargaining negotiators and the Nunavut Employees Union to go back to the table,” he said.
Angnakak noted that the GN’s collective agreement with the Nunavut Teachers Association expires on June 30 and the Qulliq Energy Corporation’s collective agreement with the NEU lapsed on Dec. 31. She asked for an update on those negotiations.
Akeeagok said initial points of contact have been made, such as introducing negotiating teams.
“I think this is the first time where we see three of our unions being negotiated all at the same time. We hoped and anticipated that the NEU collective agreement would have been done by now, as you indicated and as we all want to see, but it’s in this situation right now,” he said. “As a government, we’re prepared to negotiate for all three collective agreements.”