Strike action at Nunavut power utility gains 92 per cent support

Union says QEC workers in legal strike position after Easter

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

Unionized workers at the Qulliq Energy Corp. have voted 92 per cent in favour of strike action. (FILE PHOTO)


Unionized workers at the Qulliq Energy Corp. have voted 92 per cent in favour of strike action. (FILE PHOTO)

Following the break-down of mediated wage-benefit talks this past December, 92 per cent of unionized workers at the Qulliq Energy Corp. have voted in favour of a strike, the Public Service Alliance of Canada said March 3 in a news release.

“Members are prepared to take strike action to reach a fair and reasonable deal. They stand together in solidarity,” said Bill Fennell, president of the Nunavut Employees Union, the PSAC component that represents QEC employees.

The union said they could find themselves in legal strike position after the Easter weekend, which starts April 3.

In preparation, they will start strike training later this month. But the union said they remain open to the idea of returning to the negotiating table.

QEC workers seek “bereavement leave that is on par with the Government of Nunavut and a fair and a reasonable wage that meets the rising cost of living,” the union said.

The union also wants to be consulted when the GN offers work to private contractors.

A Dec. 15. 2014 report to union members on their failed contract talks said the QEC offered the union a four-year contract with wage increases of two per cent, one per cent, one per cent and two per cent for each of the four years.

The union, which wanted a three-year contract, countered with 2.15 per cent and 2.25 per cent increases for each of the first two years.

After talks broke down, the union withdrew that offer.

The last collective agreement for QEC workers expired Dec. 31, 2013.

PSAC, through the NEU, represents about 140 employees working at 26 diesel plants in 25 Nunavut communities.

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