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SGEU declares labour impasse with province

Contract negotiations bog down as SGEU has been without a collective agreement with the government for over a year.
The provincial government, already suffering with teachers on the picket lines, now could face labour woes from the SGEU.

REGINA - The provincial government is having to deal with more labour strife, this time from the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees Union.

SGEU states in a news release that its Public Service/Government Employment bargaining unit, representing over 11,000 members, has reached an impasse in contract negotiations with the Government of Saskatchewan. They have been without a collective agreement after the last one expired Sept. 30, 2022.

Their next step, as set out in the Saskatchewan Employment Act, is an official request that the Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety appoint a mediator or conciliator to assist both parties to reach a collective bargaining agreement.

“After over a year of bargaining, we are disappointed that the Government of

Saskatchewan is unwilling to negotiate fair enhancements in the new contract,” said Lori Bossaer, Chair of SGEU’s PS/GE Negotiating Committee, in a statement.

SGEU union members include firefighters, correctional officers, child protection workers, conservation officers and equipment operators. The union has been calling for catch-up wage increases tied to the cost of living, enhanced mental health sick leave, enhanced salary provisions when employees performing essential services have to keep working during a pandemic, and an increase to pensions.

“Over the past few years, our members on the frontlines have dealt with a pandemic, a mental health and addictions crisis, a cost-of-living crisis, and an unprecedented wildfire season,” said Bossaer in a news release. “These dedicated employees provide important programs and services to Saskatchewan residents, and they deserve to have a collective agreement that recognizes and supports the work they do.”

The union also states they want a contract that will address member retention and recruitment, citing turnover and their workers burning out.