Halifax nurses suspended for wildcat strike

Workers disciplined for walking off the job before legal strike position

The majority of nurses who participated in a wildcat strike last month in Halifax will receive disciplinary suspensions.

Bruce English of the Capital District Health Authority said as many as 175 nurses face suspension after walking off the job before entering a legal strike position.

The walkout occurred on April 1. The Nova Scotia Labour Board issued a cease-and-desist order after a number of nurses failed to report for their shifts that day, forcing the cancellation of dozens of surgeries.

The legal strike that followed was ended after three days by essential-services legislation.

The length of the disciplinary action was not disclosed. Suspensions will be implemented gradually and primarily during the summer months when hospital operations are reduced. Replacement nurses will be used to cover the shifts of suspended employees.

“At a time that our health care system is already struggling to provide quality care to patients because of understaffing, we are appalled that Capital Health has chosen to further jeopardize their fragile relationship with staff,” said Joan Jessome, president of the Nova Scotia Government & General Employees Union (NSGEU).

Jessome called the disciplinary measures heavy-handed, saying, “We cannot let this type of bullying behavior stand, so we will be fighting this through the best avenue available to us: grievances.”

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