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Labour Board rules against Egg Films lockout

by Robert Devet

Last week the Nova Scotia Labour Board ruled once again against Egg Films, finding that the company bargained in bad faith and imposed an illegal lock-out of its production workers. Photo Robert Devet
Last week the Nova Scotia Labour Board ruled once again against Egg Films, finding that the company bargained in bad faith and imposed an illegal lock-out of its production workers. Photo Robert Devet

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) - Egg Films once again finds itself on the losing end of a legal dispute with the union that represents the production employees who work on its commercials.

In September Egg Films announced that it would close shop on November 6, leaving employees without a job.

The company's owners blamed “crotchety labour academics, belligerent labour activists, pompous union lawyers, and politicians who care more about protecting their own jobs instead of fixing an outdated and unfair Trade Union Act,” according to a statement on the company's Facebook page.

The latest Labour Board decision affects Egg’s refusal to bargain a collective agreement with IATSE Local 849, resulting in a lockout of union employees which began in March of this year.

“The Labour Board's decision finds Egg Films guilty of violating the Trade Union Act by bargaining in bad faith and conducting an illegal lock-out,” an IATSE news release states.  

“Further, the Board determined that Egg Films must compensate IATSE for any work during the lockout which would otherwise have been performed by members of the Union. The Board also ordered both parties back to the bargaining table within 60 days,” IATSE writes.

“It is a bit of a vindication,” Gary Vermeir, business agent for the Local, tells the Halifax Media Co-op. “We still have to figure out our next steps, but it was good to see the Labour Board backing up our position once again.”

Earlier the company fought IATSE Local 849 union certification at the Labour Board, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, and the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal. In September of last year the Supreme Court of Canada tossed out Egg Films' final appeal.

The company may have left the province, but the Labour Board's decision is more than a moral victory, Vermeir says.

“We felt that the vitriolic social media campaign that Egg launched against us was a fairly cynical attempt to drive a wedge between the union and its members, at a time when members were desperate for work because of the provincial film tax credit crisis,” says Vermeir.

“Egg felt that gave them the opportunity to lock us out, in the hope that members would go to work for Egg,” Vermeir says.

“I don't think that happened, and now the Labour Board says that you can't do that. You have to play by the rules.”

See also: Unwinding the spin at Egg Films

Click here for additional coverage of the Egg Films dispute.

Follow Robert Devet on Twitter 

 


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