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Striking Saskatoon Co-op employees ratify new contract

WATCH ABOVE: Tentative deal reached in Saskatoon Co-op strike.

A strike at Saskatoon Co-op that lasted over five months has ended.

Members of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1400 voted 54 per cent in favour on Tuesday to accept the terms of a new contract worked out between the two sides on the weekend.

READ MORE: Tentative deal reached in Saskatoon Co-op strike

The seven-year agreement includes a two-tier wage scale and a two per cent wage increase per year for the duration of the contract.

“At the end of the day, we came to an agreement that allows our Co-op to stay competitive while providing good jobs in our community,” said Saskatoon Co-op CEO Grant Wicks.

“We look forward to serving our communities together with our employees as they transition back to work.”

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Roughly 900 employees walked off the job on Nov. 1, 2018, after being without a contract for more than two years. They will return to work on April 21.

The sides had been at odds over the proposed two-tier wage scale that would pay new employees less than existing workers.

Details of the agreed-upon wage scale have not been released, but Wicks said there is a mechanism to reduce the gap between the scales in years the company has financial success.

READ MORE: Union calls for binding arbitration to end Saskatoon Co-op contract dispute

The UFCW Local 1400 bargaining committee and Saskatoon Co-op met last Friday and Saturday, according to Rod Gillies, director of negotiations for the local.

The tentative deal was reached with the assistance of a special mediator, Gillies said.

— With files from Ryan Kessler