Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut September 18, 2012 - 3:00 pm

Nunavut workers ratify new wage-benefit deal with GN

Strike avoided with 72 per cent yes vote

DAVID MURPHY

Nunavut Employees Union members have avoided a strike by voting to ratify a wage-benefit deal the union tentatively struck with the Government of Nunavut this past July.

A total of 73 per cent of GN employees covered by the collective agreement and who cast ballots voted in favour of the deal.

The result, released Sept. 18, means NEU members will receive an annual wage increase of one, one, 2.5 and three per cent over the life of a four-year deal.

The agreement is from Oct. 1, 2010 until Sept. 30, 2014.

Wage increases effective in 2010 and 2011 will be paid retroactively to employees on staff as of July 20, 2012.

The agreement covers most GN employees who are not teachers or employees of the Qulliq Energy Corp.

“The next step is to sign the new agreement and then the Government of Nunavut will have to pay any retroactive pay not later than the third month following the month in which the agreement is signed,” the executive director of the NEU, Brian Boutilier, said in an email to Nunatsiaq News.

If union members had rejected the offer, they would have been in a legal strike position after the GN and NEU reached an essential services agreement.

Doug Workman, the president of the NEU, said he is “relieved” that the process is over.

“There was a lot of emotion, a lot of people were frustrated at the process. It took over two years from the time we started negotiating to reach an agreement,” Workman said. “But the members have spoken and we have a new ratified agreement.”

The voting occurred throughout the summer, with the last votes being cast in Iqaluit and Sanikiluaq earlier this September.

No adjustments to the Nunavut Northern Allowance were agreed upon in the deal, however.

But a joint committee is expected to review the allowance and provide recommendations for an NNA formula to the GN, with the help of an independent resource person.

The deadline for the recommendation is Sept. 30, 2013.

Members also voted on a number of other changes to their collective agreement, related to things like annual leave, entitlement and hours of work, and sick leave.

All changes to the tentative agreement can be viewed here.

There is a meeting for members of the local 5, which includes all GN employees in the Baffin region except Clyde River, conservation officers, QEC employees and nurses scheduled for Sept. 18 at 5:15 p.m. in the NEU board room. 

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