Halifax Council recently awarded a cleaning contract for the Sackville Sports Stadium to the lowest bidder, raising questions about wages paid to the outsourced janitorial staff . Prior to the municipal elections several successful candidates declared that they supported a living wage. That issue was not raised during the discussions, however.

The City of Halifax applies a fair wage consideration when evaluating bids for services. But it’s just fluff, as the recent awarding of a parking enforcement contract shows. HRM doesn’t really care how well third party workers are paid, as long as costs are down.

Halifax City outside workers, members of CUPE Local 108, rallied in front of City Hall to tell the city to get back to the bargaining table, revoke a lock-out notice, and stop chipping away at their pensions. Current city proposals dealing with workers’ pensions are simply unacceptable, the union says.

HRM’s Municipal Operations unit is a bad place to work, especially if you’re Black, queer or a woman, says an independent consultant who reviewed the workplace for diversity and inclusion. African Nova Scotians experience harassment and racism, homophobia is a problem, and only 4 percent of the full time workforce are women. Ongoing cutbacks are part of the problem.