Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavik September 12, 2018 - 10:45 am

KRG employees’ union stages protest as councillors meet

Five months after agreement on principle reached, contract has yet to be finalized

More than a dozen employees demonstrated in the lobby of the KRG’s head office in Kuujjuaq on Sept. 10, blowing whistles and chanting “We want our contract!” (PHOTO BY SARAH ROGERS)
More than a dozen employees demonstrated in the lobby of the KRG’s head office in Kuujjuaq on Sept. 10, blowing whistles and chanting “We want our contract!” (PHOTO BY SARAH ROGERS)
A KRG employee union member in Kangirsuk leads an action at the community's airport Sept. 10, urging KRG management to respect the agreement in principle reach last April. (PHOTO COURTESY OF KRGEU)
A KRG employee union member in Kangirsuk leads an action at the community's airport Sept. 10, urging KRG management to respect the agreement in principle reach last April. (PHOTO COURTESY OF KRGEU)

KUUJJUAQ—Whistle blasts and chanting could be heard through the boardroom walls as Kativik Regional Government councillors met on Tuesday, Sept. 11.

The commotion, made in the lobby of the KRG’s head office, was caused by more than a dozen members of the Kativik Regional Government Employees’ Union. Their chant: “We want our contract!”

The KRGEU, made up of 200 general employees and 66 federal transport workers, has been without a contract since December 2015.

The union and KRG management made headway this past April, when the two parties signed an agreement in principle.

But almost five months later, the contract has yet to be finalized, which has left union members frustrated.

“We’ve been without a contract for the better part of three years,” said KRGEU president Victor Mesher.

“I think this is the longest negotiation without contract completion in the history of the organization.”

Last April, the two parties agreed in principle to a 2.5 per cent wage increase for 2016, 2017 and 2018 and a two per cent increase for 2019.

Both sides also agreed on an extra week of vacation for employees with at least 10 years’ experience, the union said, as well as the possibility of allowing employees to cash out a portion of their annual leave.

But there’s a dispute now over a letter of agreement to adjust the salary scale for certain classes of employment, which appears to have stalled the finalizing of the contract.

“The collective agreements have yet to be signed because of some errors in the language found within the collective agreement, which we believe was an oversight by the union,” Guy Poirier, director of the KRG’s human resources department, told regional councillors on Sept. 11.

“We have and are proactive in getting this matter resolved.”

Poirier said the KRG has informed unionized employees that they’ll begin receiving their newly negotiated wages starting on Sept. 30.

But it’s unclear if and how the parties can resolve the dispute over the agreement’s wording.

“They want us to set that aside and renegotiate,” Mesher said. “But our members already voted on it.”

Mesher said the union has filed a complaint to Quebec’s labour relations commission, with the hope that will move the process forward.

Even if the new contract is put in place by the fall, it will only run until December 2019, meaning the union will be back at the negotiating table in a little more than a year.

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(11) Comments:

#1. Posted by KRG employee on September 12, 2018

Waiting 3 years for negotiating a collective agreement in principle, then another 5 months to refute their own signature is not being proactive… it is bad faith to save money on the back of their employees… Nunavimmiut families with kids counting on this salary raise (simply equal to inflation) and other benefits. It is a sad first in KRG history..

#2. Posted by KRG employee on September 12, 2018

I follow #1

go check out house rents high rising, how are we suppose to feed our children with high costs bills, rent, bills, phone bills, other bills, child day care bills, gasoline price went up again, we need food to survive in order to continue working and living for good cause.

While the Employer holds our money, no theirs! they are rich people and laughing at us, while we fight bills after bills, and them, just smiling at us, and holding our money!

At least open free soup kitchen for your employees, and food to bring home for our hungry children?!

#3. Posted by Shove it up my a$$! on September 12, 2018

Disappointing with KRG, how are we going to live up with you trying to raise our children and pay our highest rent in Nunavik?? While you laugh in our face and so I say, shove it up my a$$, give us what you owe it to us, sign our contract! We will be in peace with you KRG employers!!

#4. Posted by suppoter on September 12, 2018

Oh Jennifer.keep it up

#5. Posted by Happy to have a job. on September 12, 2018

not a member of a union and don’t care to be in one. I am thankful for having a job even near minimum pay. Bills, rent, food, clothing, all are necessities in life and a home to live in is worth the hard work. Stay out of debt. and budget your finances. But watch out for greedy…rationing, saving, cutting expenses by a bit each year is good for all of us.

#6. Posted by Supporter on September 12, 2018

the KRG is not supposed to a government? so why the management try to make money on the back of the loyal employee, this is not a Walmart where cheap labor are everywhere! those Union employee are respectful & dedicated to the KRG & demand respect

#7. Posted by Working person on September 12, 2018

My rent was raised by 22% in the last three years and we negotiate a little over 7.5% and they hold of on it for 5 months. Negotiations were done by both parties and I believe the Union was always up front with the progress of the negotiations to their members. Was the KRG negotitions committee always up front to the counsel? I hope not as that would mean that counsel disrespected the letter of principle and therefor its’ greatest asset…their employees.

#8. Posted by employee on September 13, 2018

#5, not all employees are in your condition, some of us might have children to feed, bills after bills climbing to the roof, house rent is highest! Gasoline price went up, phone bills, now, internet price for banking purposes, vehicle parts to consider.

We are happy to be a worker, solid hours to perform, love my job & thankful of being employed, yet, why hold our money?! it is not Employer’s money.

Since 2015, no changes, our salary is lower than high rising house rent to fight to survive, high food costs at stores, not all of us are hunters to claim country food, some of us don’t even have vessels or snowmobiles to go hunting for food, or even no ATV to go out of trail to go hunt wild games for food, we are not rich Executives, but, being laughed at, I hope they will understand our feet, look up to our children too. Go Union Go!

#9. Posted by BINGO!! on September 13, 2018

Too bad the collective agreement cant be made public for everyone to see.must be nice to have an employer that allows its workers to leave for a long time every Tuesday and Thursday to buy bingo and Nevada cards at the forum.

Woahhhh..and lots of money to spend while they are there

#10. Posted by hthaj on September 13, 2018

nakurmiik # 8 for your insightfulness. Being a single father/grandfather supporting 3 grandkids,1 teen-ager, while paying for all that you mentioned,(except don’t have internet), I had to pay off my debts for 18 solid years while half my paycheck going to the rest of bills as raising 4 young girls was hard to get it over with. Saw how i can do without bingo, lotto, nevada, etc… had to rely on hard work and years of stress, emotionally challenging obstacles that go with life…hey KRG! what’s the mountain climb for your employees? Let’s be sensitive to people who are dedicated to…

#11. Posted by Molly MacGuire on September 14, 2018

Be strong and always support your Union folks, nobody is going to
help you but your selves.
If some toady people don’t want more money for their labour, well fine
then, they can always give it away.
Some people will spend money wisely, some won’t, that is people’s own
If the Government can afford to fund MMIWG,and fly senators around,
and all for nothing, then it can afford to pay for Northern workers.
Good luck folks.

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