FREDERICTON (GNB) – The following statement was issued today by Social Development Minister Dorothy Shephard in relation to the ongoing negotiations with CUPE nursing home workers:

Today we learned that the stay order has been extended to protect the health, safety and security of nursing home residents from a strike without any essential services. Extending the stay order will provide residents and their families with peace of mind.

While I support the collective bargaining process and workers’ ability to strike, the health and safety of nursing home residents continues to be my primary concern.

This is not a political issue or even a collective bargaining issue; it is an issue of resident safety. When the union served the employer with 24-hour notice of strike action at 3 a.m., without any essential services in place, the provincial government had to react in order to protect the health, safety and security of nursing home residents.

While this is positive news for nursing home residents, we remain committed to working towards a negotiated agreement with the union. We are prepared to return to the table once the mediator recommends that negotiations should resume.