On Monday, the Union of Northern Workers responded to a document that was released by the GNWT claiming that a deal was offered in mediation last October which would increase workers’ wages at a rate higher than the rate of inflation.
The UNW statement said that the document has misleading numbers and was a dishonest attempt to mislead their own workers.
The document details specific plans for wage increases for employees, including annual step increases while adding that average pay increase under its current proposals would be 9.2 percent over five years which is higher than the forecasted inflation of 8.6 percent over the same period.
UNW president Todd Parsons further stated that the document proceeds to further confuse the issue with misleading numbers such as confusing pay increases with step increases.
“Step increases are earned by gaining experience in a position and reflect the fact your work gains value. Pay or “economic” increases apply differently, to all employees, and are often tied to the cost of living.”
He also notes that by including step increases in their calculations and then averaging out over all employees, that they fail to mention the fact that for a lot of most experienced government employees, there is no step increase at all.
“So regardless of the spin that the GNWT tries to put on their offer, for thousands of employees zero really does mean zero.”
Parsons added that the document completely ignores other key issues being talked about most importantly the fight for better job security.
“Too many public service workers are being treated as terms or casuals, often being extended over and over instead of properly staffing. This leaves too many workers outside of benefit and pension systems, and often unable to negotiate a mortgage or loan.”
The statement concluded by saying a public offer will be made Tuesday asking the government to agree to Binding Arbitration (an even‐handed process used for settling difficult labour disputes) and that if the government is serious about reaching a fair agreement and avoiding a strike, they will agree to the offer.
The next round of mediation between the two sides is scheduled for February 8 and 9.