No terms of reference set for binding arbitration: NLMA

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Barb Sweet
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Years after doctors struck their last  deal with the province, terms of reference for binding arbitration are still not complete.

That’s according to a president’s letter on the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association (NLMA) updating physicians about upcoming negotiations for a new memorandum of agreement (MOA).

“Despite numerous attempts, the NLMA has been unable to engage government in a discussion to finalize the binding arbitration procedures,” president Dr. Yordan Karaivanov said in the letter posted this week on the association’s website.

“In correspondence to (Finance) Minister (Charlene) Johnson on April 16 and in our April 15 meeting with (Health) Minister (Susan) Sullivan, we clearly stated that the NLMA will not begin negotiations for a new MOA until we have finalized the generic terms of reference for arbitration.”

The latest contract — 2009-13 expired Sept. 30.

However, it wasn’t until 2010 that physicians and the province struck a deal. Still there have been at least three years to complete the terms of reference.

Binding arbitration kicks in when the doctors and the province can’t settle an agreement after a year of officials talks.

However, negotiations have not yet begun on the new agreement and the previous deal remains in effect.

Issues in the upcoming talks include salary, primary care reform, greater fairness among physician groups and health system sustainability.

Binding arbitration was considered a win in the last round of negotiations, and the terms of reference were supposed to be completed before the new talks.

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association

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