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Iqaluit city workers sign new contract

Vacation travel allowances cut in compromise

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

DAN BENOIT

A 13-per cent pay increase over the next four years and a $2,200 cap on vacation travel allowances are some of the details of a new wage-and-benefit contract between the City of Iqaluit and the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

Iqaluit Mayor Elisapee Sheutiapik, who joined Doug Workman of the Nunavut Employees Union in the council chambers on Friday, Dec. 8, said the agreement is excellent news for the city and the union.

“The signing of this agreement is a wonderful start to the holidays and I think a wonderful way to kick off the New Year,” Sheutiapik said.

The last contract for the 120 city employees expired June 30. The new contract takes effect July 1, 2006 and ends December 31, 2010.

Wages will increase three per cent Jan. 1, 2007, Jan. 1, 2008, Jan. 1, 2009 and four per cent on January 1, 2010.

In lieu of retroactive pay for July 1, 2006 to Dec. 31, 2006, there is a three per cent signing bonus based on the annual rate of pay for the six-month period.

There will be a two per cent increase in the employers matching contribution to RRSP effective Jan. 1, 2007.

The housing and settlement allowance, now at $15,484.48, will increase to $16,900 by that date as well. On Jan. 1, 2008 it will increase to $17,700, to $18,500 by Jan. 1, 2009 and to $19,900 by Jan. 1, 2010.

Vacation travel allowances are capped at $2,200 per employee and three dependents, instead being open tickets, Workman said. He added the union and the city both made concessions on that point.

There are additional leave-with-pay days, such as two new days for traditional activities such as clam-digging and berry-picking, and up to 10 days leave with pay to coach, participate or officiate at territorial, national or local sporting events.

As well, there is a new compassionate care leave with a 93 per cent top-up provision.

Noting that negotiations for GN workers begin next week, Workman said this contract offers more than the GN offers its workers.

Workman said things have changed between the union and the city since the “them-or-us attitude” that led to the long strike of 2001. “Under the watchful eye of the mayor here, it’s a different tone,” he said.

The mayor agreed.

“We’re all part of the community. I think, overall, a strike is something you don’t want to happen,” Sheutiapik said.

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