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Collective Bargaining - First Agreements

In a newly certified bargaining unit, collective bargaining is initiated when either the union or the employer serves the other party with a written notice to begin bargaining a first collective agreement. In some instances, parties involved in the negotiation of their first collective agreement may experience more difficulties than unions and employers with a mature bargaining history.

It is important to note that the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board administers Part VI of The Saskatchewan Employment Act, including the first collective agreement assistance process. All applications for first agreement assistance are submitted to the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board.

When does first agreement bargaining begin?

Section 6-24 of The Saskatchewan Employment Act, authorizes representatives of the bargaining agent and the employer to meet within 20 days after the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board issues a certification order.

What happens if the parties cannot reach a first agreement on their own?

If a first agreement cannot be reached, either party may apply to the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board for assistance.

The prerequisites to seeking Board assistance are:

  • there must be a certification order or an order pursuant to clause 6 (104)(2)(a); and
  • the parties to the order have engaged in collective bargaining.

The Board may then consider the circumstances and provide the appropriate assistance.

What type of assistance may the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board provide?

Once the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board has considered the application, the Board may direct the parties to request the Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety to appoint a labour relations officer or special mediator to mediate the dispute and report back to the minister.

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