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Public sector workers in Nova Scotia gather to protest wage-limit bill

HALIFAX — About 300 public sector workers rallied outside the Nova Scotia legislature on Wednesday to protest what one union has described as repressive legislation aimed at imposing a wage settlement on 75,000 provincial employees.

If it becomes law, the Public Services Sustainability Act would impose a two-year wage freeze, followed by a three per cent raise over the next two years.

Bill 148 would also impose restrictions on arbitrated settlements, which the government says is necessary to keep its expenses in line with its fiscal targets.

The 21,000-member Nova Scotia Government Employees Union says the bill effectively kills the collective bargaining process.

Finance Minister Randy Delorey has said tough measures are needed to deal with the province's "vulnerable" finances, which are being dragged down by declining economic growth and a rising deficit.

The bill was the subject of four hours of public hearings Tuesday before the legislature's law amendments committee, and more hearings were held Wednesday.

The Canadian Press

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