No progress in mediation between Iqaluit Housing Authority, striking workers: Union
Bargaining team for workers met with authority representative and a mediator in Ottawa on Friday
A meeting with a federal mediator in Ottawa Friday failed to move the Iqaluit Housing Authority and Nunavut Employees Union any closer to ending a work stoppage now in its 18th week, the union says.
The union took strike action on March 17 and two days later the housing authority locked out the striking workers.
A bargaining team for the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the NEU, which represents 13 striking employees, met with a representative of the housing authority and a federally appointed mediator in Ottawa Friday.
However, no progress was made according to the union, which said the housing authority representative refused a new offer put forth by the NEU.
The housing authority offered what the union called “a slight wage increase” in a future year, but it wasn’t enough to address the costs of living in Nunavut, the release said.
The mediation session, which was the first face-to face meeting between the two parties since the labour impasse began in March, lasted barely two hours, the union said.
The union did not confirm either the amount of wage increase it proposed or what the housing authority offered.
“We did have some hope that the first meeting in person might get us closer to reaching a fair agreement and we were willing to move on some of our positions to achieve that,” Nicky Nauyuk, a plumber with the housing authority and part of the union’s bargaining team, said in the release.
“But in just two hours, it became clear that the [Iqaluit Housing Authority] is not interested in reaching a fair deal or showing any respect to the IHA workers or the residents of IHA housing. It was incredibly disappointing and disrespectful,” Nauyuk added.
Monday marked the 127th day since the start of the strike, the union noted.
The union has said it is seeking improved working conditions, including wages that keep pace with inflation and housing benefits. The previous collective agreement expired on June 30, 2020.
The Iqaluit Housing Authority did not respond Monday to Nunatsiaq News’ request for comment about the meeting.