On Friday, November 25, the federal Minister of Labour referred Marine Atlantic Inc. & National Automobile, Aerospace, Transportation and General Workers Union of Canada (CAW-Canada), Local 4285 - Agreement C to the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB). This decision followed the parties' inability to reach a collective agreement during two days of conciliation in October.
The referral and subsequent decision by the CIRB will determine the level of human resources required to meet the public needs for the maintenance of this essential service in the event of a future strike or lockout.
Marine Atlantic and the CAW have five days to respond to the referral to the CIRB. Marine Atlantic will respond and advise that a Maintenance of Activities Agreement was reached with the CAW on October 28, 2011. It is the company's and the union's position that the level of services agreed to will avoid a disruption in service. This is the same Maintenance of Activities Agreement reached in March 2010 that resulted in a ruling by the CIRB that a strike would be ineffective and that the dispute be settled by a binding arbitration method.
Despite fears being raised in the public that a strike or lockout could take place as a result of this referral, this is a normal collective bargaining activity at Marine Atlantic and such referrals by the Minister of Labour have occurred several times in the past. Customers will not experience any impact during this process.
Wayne Follett, President and CEO of Marine Atlantic, denied the assertions being made publicly that this action is related to budget cuts. "This is the normal collective bargaining process that has been the case for many years and is in no way linked to budget reductions. Indeed, in Budget 2010, Marine Atlantic received an incremental investment of $520 million over a 5-year period."
- 30 -
Darrell Mercer, Communications
(709) 772-0073 or (709) 727-2405