The Northwest Territories Power Corporation says the power will remain on should a strike of unionized workers go ahead Monday.
Mediation between the Union of Northern Workers and the power corporation started Friday and will carry on Saturday. The 162 unionized workers, 75 per cent of the corporation’s workforce, have been without a collective agreement since 2014. The union has called a strike starting at 12:01 a.m. Monday should mediation fail to produce an agreement.
In a statement, the power corporation says the two parties have to reach an agreement about essential and emergency services before a strike can begin. “Managers, non-unionized staff and unionized employees designated as essential personnel, will ensure reliable electricity service is maintained if a strike occurs.”
President Noel Voykin says the corporation is committed to a new collective agreement ‘that is fair to workers and reflective of our current financial reality.’
“We need to find a balance between investing in our employees and being fiscally responsible to our customers by doing everything we can to keep electricity rates as low as possible for residents of the NWT.”
Voykin took over Monday as the head of a corporation which is facing $25-million of losses over 20 years. Declining revenues, costly infrastructure upgrades and maintaining aging infrastructure are all factors in this, the former head of the corporation told city councillors in January.
Power in the NWT is five times higher than the national average and in the last five years rates have gone up 31 per cent.