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March 6, 2012
After three days of meetings, major issues remain unresolved. According to Nunavut Employees Union (PSAC) president Doug Workman, the parties are not very close on a number of key issues.
The union has proposed wage increases of 3.25% in each of three years. The government has not moved from its offer of 1%, 1%, 2% and 2.75% over a four year agreement.
The government is also refusing to address the high cost of living in the north.“We are all aware of increases in costs and of the projected increases expected for power, airfares and food transportation,” says Workman.
During the last agreement, the union and the government agreed that the Nunavut northern allowance needed to be reviewed. A study was commissioned which made recommendations to the parties. The government has refused to consider any of the options proposed and wants to freeze the allowance at 2010 levels for four years.
The union has also taken issue with the government’s practice of hiring contractors from outside the north which usually results in costs that substantially exceed what it would cost to hire local workers as regular employees.
While the union is ready to return to the bargaining table to consider any fair offer, NEU members working for the government have already voted in favour of strike action if necessary.
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