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Day of Protest as Halifax strike enters 2nd year;
labour board hearing postponed

A Day of Protest on Monday, Jan. 23 to mark the one-year anniversary of the Halifax Typographical Union (HTU) going on defensive strike is expected to attract hundreds of people to rallies in six locations across the province.

A hearing by the Nova Scotia Labour Board into an unfair labour practice complaint against The Chronicle Herald had been scheduled to begin the same day, but has now been postponed until Feb. 6 at the HTU’s request.

“Off-the-record talks between the two sides have hopefully laid the groundwork for meaningful negotiation,” said Ingrid Bulmer, president of the HTU, which represents 55 newsroom reporters, photographers, editors and support workers.

Negotiations will resume in the near future, although dates have not been finalized, the union said in a news release.

“There is always guarded optimism when the two sides are talking,” Bulmer said of pending negotiations. “There hasn’t been much talking in the past year so this is a step in the right direction.”

The union launched the unfair labour practice complaint in November after its offer of a number of significant concessions was again rejected by the company. The union concession offers included an across-the-board five-per-cent wage cut and a freeze of the company pension plan.

The complaint argues that the Herald had engaged in a course of conduct designed to terminate union representation of newsroom employees and, that for more than a year, the Herald has tabled bargaining positions designed to be rejected.

Danny Cavanagh, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, in an opinion article published today on the striker-produced news site LocalXpress.ca, called on the provincial government to “put in place an industrial inquiry commission to get the facts in this dispute.”

Cavanagh wrote that “no worker, unionized or not, should have to accept the kinds of cuts proposed to the Herald workers … We believe this is not about saving money. It is clear the Herald owners and management are trying to wipe out the union.”

The federation is among about a dozen labour organizations that will be participating in the Day of Protest on Monday.

Speeches, rallies and marches will get under way at 12:30 p.m. in Halifax, Sydney, Antigonish, Yarmouth, Bridgewater and in the Annapolis Valley.