Unless provisions have been negotiated and are contained in a collective agreement between the employer and the bargaining agent, Division 10 of The Saskatchewan Employment Act applies to all employers who’s employees are represented by a bargaining agent.
As such, the employer must give written notice to the bargaining agent and the Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, when proposing an organizational change or technological change that will likely affect the terms, conditions, and tenure of employment of a significant number of employees.
An organizational change means the removal or relocation outside of the bargaining unit, by an employer, of all or any part of the employer’s work, undertaking, or business.
A technological change is defined as the introduction by an employer into the employer’s work, undertaking, or business of equipment or material of a different nature or kind than previously utilized by the employer in the operation of the work, undertaking; or business; or in the manner in which the employer carries on the work, undertaking or business related to the introduction of the equipment or material.
Written notice must be given at least 90 days before the date on which the organizational change or technological change is to take effect. The notice must contain the information stated in section 6-54 of The Saskatchewan Employment Act. This includes:
- The nature of the organizational change or technological change;
- The date on which the employer proposes to implement the organizational change or technological change;
- The number and type of employees likely to be affected;
- The effect that the change is likely to have on the terms, conditions or length of employment of the employees affected; and
- Any other prescribed information.
Failure to comply with the notice by the employer, may result in an application to the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board. The bargaining agent must make the application no more than 30 days after the bargaining agent knew, or in the opinion of The Board, ought to have known of the failure of the employer to comply with section 6-54 of The Saskatchewan Employment Act.
Upon notice of technological change or organizational change, the bargaining agent may serve notice to commence collective bargaining for the purpose of developing a workplace adjustment plan. The notice to bargain must be served within 30 days after the date on which the bargaining agent was deemed to have received the notice from the employer.
These plans may include provisions with respect to any of the following:
- consideration of alternatives to the proposed organizational change or technological change, including amendment of provisions in the collective agreement;
- human resource planning and employee counseling and retraining;
- notice of termination;
- severance pay;
- entitlement to pension and other benefits, including early retirement benefits; and
- a joint process for overseeing the implementation of the workplace adjustment plan.
The employer cannot implement the proposed organizational or technological changes unless the Minister has been served with a written notice informing the Minister that the parties have engaged in collective bargaining and have failed to develop a workplace adjustment plan or a period of 90 days has elapsed since the union notified the employer they wished to bargain collectively.
The parties may seek the assistance of the Director of Labour Relations and Mediation to have a labour relations officer assist in collective bargaining in respect of the workplace adjustment plan. Such a request must be made no later than 45 days after the employer’s notice pursuant to section 6-54 of The Saskatchewan Employment Act.
If the Employer wishes to implement the technological or organizational change in respect of the Notice to the bargaining agent, prior to the statutory time frame, they may make application to the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board to relieve the employer from the obligations of Division 10.