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ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. — With the looming threat of a massive public workers strike Apr. 1, the province of Newfoundland promises some essential road and ferry services will nonetheless be provided.

Percy Barrett, Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, noted, “we are still hopeful a negotiated agreement can be reached between government and the unions, but we have to be prepared in the event labor action is taken.”

The Newfoundland Association of Public Employees and the Canadian Union of Public Employees, representing 19,000 public servants, are pushing for higher wages.

Essential services agreements were signed by the union and the department for marine, road maintenance and air services. For road maintenance, one employee will be present at each of the department’s 44 permanent depots.

If there is a strike, the government said, the department will not be able to provide the level of service it has been all winter. It will be limited to emergency services, with priority given to areas where there is an emergency or areas where the need is greatest.

The intra-provincial ferry services provided by the private sector under contract with government will not be affected by this strike action, it noted.

The marine services essential agreement, signed by both parties, allows for one round trip per day on the six services affected. The number of passengers and vehicles carried on each crossing will be the maximum allowed under the respective vessel’s operating certificate in effect.

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