We can't talk
Union and government due in court Sept. 21

Doug Ashbury
Northern News Services

NNSL (Sep 11/98) - Talks between the Union of Northern Workers and the Government of the Northwest Territories have stalled.

Not that they had resumed, but for a few days it appeared as if they might.

The union is continuing to allege bad faith bargaining by the GNWT.

The GNWT continues to press for a Supreme Court-appointed mediator.

The UNW believes a court-appointed mediator is not needed.

The GNWT sees little hope for a negotiated collective agreement with the UNW until courts deal with the union's accusation of bad faith bargaining, the GNWT said in a release.

"How can two parties hope to deal seriously with each other in difficult negotiations when one party is publicly accusing the other of bad faith bargaining," Finance Minister John Todd said.

The matter is scheduled to go before Supreme Court Sept. 21.

The union proposed getting back to the table with the assistance of a third party facilitator, instead of a mediator appointed under the Public Service Act.

UNW president Jackie Simpson said: "parties must bargain in good faith before going into mediation."

Asked where the negotiations stand, Simpson said the two sides are as far apart as ever.

At the heart of the dispute is the pay equity issue.

The union wants pay equity settled separately from a collective agreement while the GNWT wants to include pay equity in a deal.