Striking terms for arbitration not complicated: NLMA

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There should be nothing complicated about drafting terms of reference for binding arbitration, the president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association said today.

“We were hoping this was going to be settled a long time ago. This is not a complicated issue. There are enough examples in the legal world to point a way towards resolving that,” Dr. Yordan Karaivanov told reporters in St. John’s.

“And we don’t see that as a very time consuming process. It is something that can be done very quickly and very easily.”

The NLMA has told government it won’t begin negotiations for a new agreement until those terms of reference are set.

The right to binding arbitration was won when the doctors and the province struck a deal in 2010. That memorandum of agreement — deciding doctor pay and other contract issues — was for the period 2009-13.

Negotiations on a new deal have not yet begun. Arbitration would not kick in until talks have been going on for a year.

The NLMA told its members this week that despite numerous attempts, the NLMA has been unable to engage government in a discussion to finalize the terms.

A spokeswoman for Finance said today arbitration is to be discussed at a meeting with the doctors May 16.

Binding arbitration can help the tone of negotiations, Karaivanov said.

“Both parties have to be reasonable if they know that in 12 months binding arbitration may be the dispute mechanism,” he said.

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