June 25, 2019 7:30 pm
Updated: June 26, 2019 9:19 am

SaskTel contract negotiations reach an impasse, strike mandate vote considered

Contract negotions between SaskTel and Unifor have reached an impasse according to the union.

File / Global News

Employees of home security company SecurTek held a strike mandate vote in Yorkton, Tuesday. This vote also may be an indication of where contract negotiations are heading with another Crown corporation, SaskTel.

SecurTek is a subsidiary company of SaskTel.

Unifor 1-S represents both SaskTel and SecurTek employees in their ongoing talks. The SaskTel contract expired on March 16, and the SecurTek contract expired three days later.

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“I can’t say 100 per cent. I know we are going to be taking a [strike mandate] vote at some point in time, and I believe the members have the same concerns,” Unifor 1-S president David Kuntz said.

“Money is a concern, but the number one concern at SaskTel is job security. We’ve got three major concerns at SaskTel; job security, mental health and compensation.”

The job security concerns revolve around jobs being contracted out, according to Kuntz.

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In the SaskTel negotiations, the two sides reached an impasse after a conciliator was brought in to assist with the talks for June 20 and 21.

“We said we wanted to see the full monetary package in order to make some decisions on where we go on some non-monetary issues,” Kuntz said.

“SaskTel feels they want to deal with all the non-monetary first before they put any money on the table, so we’re stuck in this position where we need to see some money to make some decisions and SaskTel is unwilling to put some money on the table.”

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The two sides are now in a 21 day cooling down period under the federal labour code, which expires on July 12.

Once that period concludes, Kuntz anticipates a strike mandate vote in either July or August.

If the employees vote in favour of a strike mandate, they will have to give SaskTel 72 hour notice before initiating job action.

It is not uncommon for a union to hold a strike mandate vote during the negotiating process.

In a statement, a SaskTel spokesperson said the company is committed to the bargaining process and will not release details on bargaining.

Kuntz said SecurTek employees are looking for a raise. According to Kuntz, the highest pay band for SecurTek is lower than the lowest SaskTel pay band.

Unifor expects to post the results of the SecurTek strike vote Wednesday morning.

In a statement, a SecurTek spokesperson said they are committed to bargaining in good faith, and can’t comment on specifics from the bargaining table.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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