— Photo by Ashley Fitzpatrick/The Telegram
The provincial government took a major step forward in the Muskrat Falls development today, issuing three “special project orders” to ensure labour stability during construction.
A special project order essentially imposes a no-strike, no-lockout undertaking on the labour and employers of a megaproject, which ensures a stable labour environment for the lifetime of the project.
“Labour relations stability is important to ensuring the timely and successful completion of the Muskrat Falls Project,” said Darin King, minister responsible for the Labour Relations Agency. “These SPOs are the result of positive collaboration by employers and unions who successfully negotiated the collective agreements for the Muskrat Falls Project. I applaud the energy and commitment of the parties involved in establishing productive workplace relationships for this project.”
The three orders govern the construction of the Muskrat Falls dam and hydroelectric generating station, the land clearing for the Muskrat Falls reservoir and the construction of the Labrador-Island transmission link.
A fourth order will likely come later this year for the Maritime Link that will connect Newfoundland to Nova Scotia.
Last spring, the government dramatically overhauled the legislation to allow for exactly this sort of situation. Before the amendments in 2012, only one SPO could be underway at any given time, and they could only take place within a limited geographic area.
The Vale Long Harbour nickel processing facility and the Hebron offshore platform construction are both covered by SPOs as well.