Nova Scotia agrees to let court vet contentious freeze of retirement bonus

Public Service Award first negotiated in 1974

HALIFAX (CP) — The Nova Scotia government has decided to expand the court review of its contentious labour legislation to include plans to end a retirement bonus for civil servants.

In August, the government proclaimed Bill 148 — which enforces a wage package on civil servants — and referred the new law to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal for constitutional review.

But it omitted the retirement bonus from the review, prompting outrage from labour groups.

Labour Relations Minister Mark Furey said Wednesday the government decided to expand the review after consultations with the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour.

The Public Service Award was first negotiated in 1974 — a civil servant earning the average wage of $56,000 would have been eligible for a maximum benefit of $28,000 at retirement.

Government officials have estimated the long-service award costs the government about $40 million a year.

The act freezes the retirement allowance as of April 1, 2015, and sets a wage pattern of three per cent over four years that allows increases of one per cent in the third year of the contract, followed by 1.5 per cent in the fourth year and 0.5 per cent on the final day of the package.

``Our position on this legislation has not changed — we still believe this act, in its entirety, will stand up in the courts,'' Furey said in a statement.

Latest stories