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Ekati workers, Dominion Diamond reach tentative four-year deal

More than 500 workers at the Ekati diamond mine have struck a tentative deal with Dominion Diamond Corporation on a new collective bargaining agreement.

The four-year deal must now be ratified by both parties before it’s accepted.

The Union of Northern Workers says the new agreement contains ‘economic increases’ and maintains existing language for vacation carry-over, severance and sick leave.

More than 500 people working at the mine northeast of Yellowknife have been without a collective bargaining agreement for over 30 months.

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During that time, talks between Dominion and the union broke down several times.

First, Dominion filed a “failure to bargain” complaint against the Public Service Alliance of Canada, of which the Union of Northern Workers is a component, in May 2015.

The union fired back by filing an “unfair labour practice” complaint against Dominion four months later.

At one point, talks soured so much that a mediator was ready to step in before the two sides returned to direct negotiations.

The new deal will run until May 2019. The union says a ratification vote will take place next month.

Dominion is 80 per cent owner of Ekati – Canada’s first surface and underground diamond mine.

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