Binding terms for union, GNWT unveiled — salary increases in final three years of five-year contract

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The territorial government is announcing binding recommendations from mediator Vince Ready, effectively putting an end to the three-year long labour dispute between the GNWT and the Union of Northern Workers.

The GNWT is announcing it has received binding rcommendations from mediator Vince Ready that put end to the threat of a strike by the territorial government’s 3,800 unionized workers.

The five-year deal calls for no salary increases the first two years, followed by a 1.6 increase in the third year, effective April 1, 2018. Years four and five will give the GNWT’s approximately 3,800 unionized workers salary increases of 2.3 per cent and 2.5 per cent, respectively.

The union and GNWT gave Ready 30 days to deliver binding recommendations just hours before workers were due to go on strike Feb. 11. The decision to leave the final terms to the mediator came after a tense week that culminated with a proposal by the UNW to picket MLAs who opposed a motion in the legislative assembly to send the dispute to binding arbitration.

“Negotiating a new collective agreement can be difficult under ideal conditions,” Finance Minister Robert C. McLeod is quoted in the news release issued Monday.

“The current fiscal and economic environment provided additional challenges. I would like to thank Vince Ready for his work in helping to resolve the outstanding issues.”

As part of the binding terms, workers will a receive an Northern Allowance increase of $250, also effective April 1, 2018. The deal also calls for term employees — a major sticking point during contract negotiations — to become full-time, permanent employees after 24 months on contract.

Employees will also be entitled to three days of paid leave if experiencing domestic violence so they can attend appointments with professionals, legal proceedings, or other related activities. The binding recommendations also offer support for employees who choose the new extended leave option under Employment Insurance, and contain a new memorandum on mental health calling for the implementation of the National Standard for Psychological Health in the Workplace.

More to come…