National Gallery of Canada could lock out workers during holiday season

Workers at the National Gallery of Canada are concerned management is moving towards locking them out. The Gallery’s management had requested two weeks of negotiations in September but then suddenly reversed its position and cancelled the scheduled talks.

Instead, the Gallery’s management applied for conciliation, a process under the Canada Labour Code that could lead to a lockout. The workers, members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), have asked the Gallery to agree to an extension of the conciliation process in order to avoid a lockout and allow more time for a negotiated settlement, but the request was rejected.

“We are committed to achieving a fair and negotiated contract at the National Gallery of Canada,” said Larry Rousseau, Regional Executive Vice-President of the PSAC in the National Capital Region. “Unfortunately, however, the National Gallery’s management seems unwilling to show its commitment to bargaining by extending the conciliation process.”

Under the bargaining process outlined in the Canada Labour Code, management could lock out workers at the Gallery beginning December 10.

“It would be a shame if the Gallery closed as a result of a lockout right as we get into the holiday season,” added Mr. Rousseau.

Outstanding issues in the bargaining process include wage increases, severance pay, and protection of bargaining unit work. Approximately 175 PSAC members work at the gallery.