Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut August 18, 2017 - 7:00 am

Nunavut power workers get plugged in to new wage-benefit deal

Unionized QEC employees vote yes to four-year contract

JIM BELL
Unionized workers at the Qulliq Energy Corp. have reached a new four-year wage-benefit with their employer, gaining wage increases of 2 per cent, 1 per cent, 1 per cent and 2 per cent for each year between Jan. 1, 2017 and Jan. 1, 2020. (FILE PHOTO)
Unionized workers at the Qulliq Energy Corp. have reached a new four-year wage-benefit with their employer, gaining wage increases of 2 per cent, 1 per cent, 1 per cent and 2 per cent for each year between Jan. 1, 2017 and Jan. 1, 2020. (FILE PHOTO)

A majority of about 140 unionized workers at the Qulliq Energy Corp. have voted yes to a new four-year wage-benefit deal with their employer that expires Dec. 31, 2020, the Nunavut Employees Union announced Aug. 17.

Unlike the last round of collective agreement talks between the QEC and the NEU, which led to a noisy strike in the summer of 2015, these negotiations led to a speedy resolution.

Negotiators reached a tentative deal this past June 23. NEU members at the QEC have just finished ratifying that deal in a Nunavut-wide vote.

The union did not provide a turnout figure or state how many of their members at QEC voted to accept the new agreement.

At the same time, the QEC did not state how much money the new agreement will cost the territorial Crown corporation or how it might affect electrical power rates.

A memo sent to all unionized workers at the QEC this past June says that under the new collective agreement, workers will get the following wage increases:

• Jan. 1, 2017: 2 per cent;

• Jan. 1, 2018: 1 per cent;

• Jan. 1, 2019: 1 per cent; and,

• Jan. 1, 2020: 2 per cent.

“I’m happy we reached a deal so quickly. We were pleased to reach a deal that had no concessions for our members,” Bill Fennell, the president of the Nunavut Employees Union, said in a news release.

Some of the other gains QEC workers obtained in the new agreement include:

• five days of special leave instead of four;

• permission to use one day of special leave at the discretion of the employee;

• the ability to use special leave credits for a marriage;

• the ability to bank up to 35 days of vacation leave, up from 30;

• the ability to bank up to 25 days of compensatory leave, up from 21; and,

• a new protective clothing allowance of $1,300, which is combined with the safety boot allowance.

The Government of Nunavut and the board of the QEC have already ratified the deal, which is to be signed later this year.

The NEU is a component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, which represents about 180,000 workers, mostly employees of government and quasi-government organizations, across Canada.

The approximately 140 QEC workers they represent generate and distribute electrical power to about 14,000 customers in Nunavut through 26 standalone diesel plants in 25 communities.

  Tentative Agreement Update 2017, NEU and QEC by NunatsiaqNews on Scribd

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