Nunavik’s KRG, employees’ union reach agreement
“We finally saw eye to eye on some of our disputed articles”
After three years of negotiations and threats of a strike, the Kativik Regional Government and its employees’ union have reached an agreement that should lead to a new contract for KRG’s general staff and transport workers.
The agreement includes a 2.5 per cent annual salary increase for 2016, 2017 and 2018, and a two per cent increase for 2019, as well as increases to employees’ travel reimbursement provisions and flexibility in the use of annual leave trips.
“I would like to thank everyone for their patience during the negotiation process,” said KRG chair Jennifer Munick in a news release issued on Dec. 14, the day the new agreement was signed.
“This positive outcome recognizes the important role played by our dedicated staff in the delivery of so many essential programs and services to Nunavimmiut.”
The Kativik Regional Government Employees Union’s last contract had ended in December 2015.
The new agreement came just a few weeks after union members voted in favour of a series of strike days, which were set to begin this month.
But with the help of a mediator, the two parties were able to reach consensus.
“We finally saw eye to eye on some of our disputed articles,” said KRGEU president Victor Mesher. “So we’re optimistic, we’re pleased.”
Management and the KRGEU initially reached an agreement in principle last April.
But talks broke down shortly afterwards when the two sides disagreed on translated parts of that agreement that touched on retroactive pay for employees who had left their jobs.
In the fall, both parties filed complaints with Quebec’s labour tribunal (Tribunal administratif du travail) to say the other side had negotiated in bad faith.
With the threat of a strike and a push from a newly elected KRG executive, both sides had a renewed resolve to end the labour dispute before the end of the year.
Though KRG employees have a new contract, it expires at the end of 2019.
“For now, we hope we have nine months of labour peace,” Mesher said. “And we hope to do this in a more reasonable time frame the next time around.”
Mesher said the union will have to table its demands for a new contract as soon as September 2019.
In that next round, Mesher said he hopes to revisit and negotiate a policy for how housing is distributed to employees, as well as a new pension plan with a defined income for employees who retire.