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Committee established to strengthen labour-government relations

FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has established a labour-government steering committee to build stronger relationships between government and the labour movement and to identify areas of co-operation.

“Your government recognizes the important role that workers play in enabling economic growth and social progress,” said Labour, Employment and Population Growth Minister Gilles LePage. “Through this committee, labour and government will work in collaboration to address issues affecting New Brunswickers.”

The steering committee is comprised of five ministers and four representatives from labour. They include:

  • Labour, Employment and Population Growth Minister Gilles LePage;
  • Treasury Board President Roger Melanson;
  • Finance Minister Cathy Rogers;
  • Health Minister Benoît Bourque;
  • Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Bill Fraser;
  • Patrick Colford (New Brunswick Federation of Labour);
  • Daniel Legere (Canadian Union of Public Employees);
  • Lana Payne (UNIFOR); and
  • Paula Doucet (New Brunswick Nurses Union).

The steering committee will oversee five working groups that will exchange ideas and make recommendations to government where consensus exists. The working groups are each comprised of up to eight members, four from government and four from labour. The labour policy working group will consider issues such as workplace violence, workers’ compensation and employment standards. The social policy working group will consider issues of social welfare and individual well-being, while other working groups will examine pay equity, training and upskilling, and outsourcing.

“Labour in the province recognizes that by working with government on these very important files, we can accomplish both the social and economic gains needed to ensure that the province of New Brunswick can flourish once again,” said Patrick Colford, president of the New Brunswick Federation of Labour. “It is really all about working together for a better New Brunswick.”

The committee and working groups will meet on an ongoing basis. Its next step will be launching a task force to examine the outsourcing of non-clinical services.

The government has also addressed other labour-related issues, including the introduction of legislation on first-contract arbitration and a commitment to develop new workplace regulations aimed at preventing workplace violence.

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