10/10/2014 07:14 EDT | Updated 12/10/2014 05:59 EST

Nova Scotia nurses accept contract agreement with health authority

HALIFAX - A group of unionized nurses in Halifax has accepted a contract agreement with their health authority after lengthy and difficult negotiations.

Members of Local 97 of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union voted to accept the offer Friday, despite ongoing concerns about staffing and patient safety.

Union president Joan Jessome says the deal comes after tense labour talks with Capital District Health Authority and job action by nurses before the government introduced essential services legislation.

Jessome says the legislation stopped the conciliation process and prevented nurses from striking until April 2015.

She says the union didn't want to make nurses wait until next spring to resolve the negotiations.

Premier Stephen McNeil said in a statement Friday that he was pleased a deal was reached, but no details of the agreement were released.