Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut May 17, 2012 - 3:20 pm

Labour deal between Pangnirtung hamlet and union falls through

Hamlet seeks arbitrator to break impasse

DAVID MURPHY

(Updated 5:30 p.m.)

Negotiations broke down May 17 between the Hamlet of Pangnirtung and the Nunavut Employees Union over a new collective agreement for the municipality’s unionized workers.

The hamlet said it wants more flexibility in setting work schedules for improving water and sewage services, but the union did not agree, said a May 17 news release from the hamlet.

Pangnirtung’s senior administrative officer, Ron Mongeau told Nunatsiaq News negotiations were friendly right up until the end, and said he feels both sides were flexible on issues they want reworded, apart from that one.

“We had made it clear that the most important thing was having flexibility to let the hamlet make services more efficient,” Mongeau said. “All we want is we like to look at different options, like four days on, three days off. Or flex time, or exploring different possibilities. But the union said no.” 

“The real issue is — who runs the hamlet? The municipality or the truck drivers and workers?”

Now, the hamlet said it’s looking to the federal minister of labour to step in to arbitrate the stalled negotiations.

An application for a conciliator will help the two reach an equitable agreement, the news release said. The hamlet and union started negotiations to hash out the new collective agreement May 15.

A number of issues were resolved during the negotiations, the hamlet said.

Despite the breakdown in negotiations, the hamlet says essential services will continue for the residents of Pangnirtung.

“The hamlet is also taking steps to ensure that essential services will be maintained in the event of a strike or lockout,” said the news release.

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