Mediator releases binding recommendations for UNW-GNWT

UNW members at a February 1st gathering in downtown Yellowknife. (Photo by
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A five-year collective agreement is on the horizon for unionized members of the GNWT, according to binding recommendations released by mediator Vince Ready.

The five-year agreement would begin retroactively on April 1, 2016. It will have no salary increases in the first two years (2016, 2017), followed by increases in the last three years of the contract. “Salary increases for the final three years include 1.6% effective April 1, 2018, 2.3% effective April 1, 2019, and 2.5% effective April 1, 2020,” the GNWT states in a press release.

These salary increases are higher than the GNWT’s previously stated offer of 0 per cent the first two years, followed by 1.4 per cent in 2018, 1.4 in 2019 and 1.7 in 2020.

After two days of mediation in February failed to produce a collective agreement, and with a strike of 4,000 government and power corporation workers looming, both sides agreed to be bound by Ready’s recommendations. Now that Ready’s report has been received, the GNWT states it will follow up with the union about implementation.

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“Negotiating a new collective agreement can be difficult under ideal conditions. 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,” states Minister of Finance Robert C. McLeod.

The agreement will also include (according to the GNWT):

o $250 increase to the Northern Allowance starting April 1, 2018.

o Expansion to situations where relief employees may be used to include circumstances where services are provided on an as-and-when basis.

o Term employees to be converted to indeterminate status after 24 months in the same position in most circumstances.

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o Change to lay-off provisions including a new Memorandum of Understanding on Voluntary Separation

o The addition of three days of paid leave for employees experiencing domestic violence to attend appointments with professionals, legal proceedings, or engage in other necessary activities to support their health and safety.

o Change to parental leave to support employees that choose the new extended parental leave option under Employment Insurance (EI).

o A new Memorandum of Understanding on Mental Health, including a commitment to commence work to implement the National Standard for Psychological Health in the Workplace.

MyYellowknifeNow has reached out to the Union of Northern Workers for comment.

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