The Saint John Police Commission ratified a new collective bargaining agreement on Thursday — ending a two-year contract dispute and avoiding a date with an arbitrator.
The union representing police officers — the Saint John Police Association — ratified the four-year deal on Wednesday.
The agreement will see wage increases totalling 10.25 per cent; a retroactive increase of 2.75 per cent for 2016, a retroactive increase for 2.5 per cent in 2017 and a 2.5 increase for 2018 and 2019.
The surprise announcement comes less than a month before the police commission and the union were set to head to arbitration.
Saint John Mayor Don Darling did not receive the decision warmly but did not explicitly condemn it either.
“The city is faced with rapidly escalating costs of emergency services and severe financial pressures across the board. City council will now need to determine how to account for this increase in light of those fiscal pressures,” Darling wrote in a statement issued on Thursday.
“If the province is looking for an example of why the arbitration process is broken they need look no further than Saint John.”
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In December, arbitration produced a contract between Saint John and the city’s firefighters.
The decision gave firefighters a 15 per cent raise in a five-year contract, retroactive to 2014.
The city had offered two per cent per year.