Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut August 22, 2016 - 7:00 am

Nunavut government, union, reach tentative contract agreement

Details forthcoming; members must now vote on whether to accept it

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Unionized Qulliq Energy Corp. employees on strike in July 2016 before QEC and the Nunavut Employees Union ratified a three-year collective agreement in August. (FILE PHOTO)
Unionized Qulliq Energy Corp. employees on strike in July 2016 before QEC and the Nunavut Employees Union ratified a three-year collective agreement in August. (FILE PHOTO)

After long and protracted negotiations, the Government of Nunavut and the Nunavut Employees Union have reached a tentative agreement for a new wage-benefit contract.

The GN’s current collective agreement expired in September 2014, which means unionized employees have been operating with an expired collective agreement for nearly two years.

The GN issued a news release Aug. 19 at 4:30 p.m. saying that the two parties reached the agreement Aug. 18 but that it is subject to ratification by both parties, “at which point more details will be provided.”

That means unionized members will get a copy of the tentative contract and have an opportunity to vote on whether to accept it.

The news release includes contact information for both the GN and the NEU.

According to a news release updating negotiations in July 2015, the union was looking to “improve the terms and conditions of employment,” as well as to sign a “memorandum of understanding with respect to the 12hr shift schedule for the nurses at the Qikiqtani General Hospital.”

Those “conditions of employment” included such things as changing how overtime is compensated and increasing vacation days and annual leave, according to a document called “bargaining proposal” on the NEU’s website from August 2014.

That document, though two years old now, outlines the union’s opening position regarding pay increases for employees: a five per cent increase for each of the years from 2014 to 2017.

Considering the union just signed a new three-year collective agreement with Qulliq Energy Corp. in August 2015 for wage increases of two percent, 1.5 per cent and 1.5 per cent over three years, it seems unlikely that their opening negotiation position for GN employees’ salary increases survived the bargaining process.

The NEU is also in talks with the City of Iqaluit for a new wage-benefit deal.

The last deal between the city and the union expired this past December.

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