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Hay River strike: Workers vote to end labour dispute

Striking Town of Hay River employees have voted to end the ongoing strike in the community.

The Union of Northern Workers, which represents the workers, has ratified a new collective bargaining agreement in an effort to end the 25-week labour dispute.

The Town must now endorse the proposed settlement for the new agreement to come into force (which could happen on Wednesday).

If it’s agreed upon, the strike would finally come to an end. 31 Town employees went on strike back on February 9 over a wage dispute.

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Read: Town Of Hay River Says It’s Hiring Replacement Workers

On Friday afternoon, the Union of Northern Workers announced that members had ratified a new three-year collective agreement, set to expire on December 31, 2016.

The agreement would replace the previous one, and see workers earn wage increases of 2% on January 1, 2014, 2% on January 1, 2015 and 1.75% on January 1, 2016.

The union says the settlement is a compromise to the wage increase demands union members have held out for since February.

Originally, the Town was offering an annual pay raise of 1% over the three years while the union’s position was for 2.5%, 2.25% and 2.25% annually.

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“This employer used every harsh tactic to break the union, even including replacement workers,” said Todd Parsons, president of the Union of Northern Workers, in a statement.

“Our members stood up to the assault, remained strong and united, and won a fair settlement. This was their fight and the NWT labour movement is stronger as a result of their courage.”

Hay River mayor Andrew Cassidy says town council will meet next Wednesday to put the proposed agreement to a vote.

“If it’s ratified then the strike will be coming to an end as both parties agree to it,” he said.

“This will be a pretty serious discussion amongst council so we’ll see what happens with the vote on Wednesday.”

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