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SaskTel workers set to strike on Sept. 30

In SaskTel’s annual report released Tuesday, the Crown corporation says it had a net income of $134.8 million in 2016-17.
SaskTel joins six other Crown-sector bargaining units in voting to take job action. File / Global News

Unionized workers at SaskTel could be on strike by the end of the month as Unifor served a strike notice on Thursday.

The union said some progress has been made on non-monetary items but criticized the government’s mandate of a two-year wage freeze.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan government offers teachers 4% increase over 3 years

Unifor said it is a sticking point that will “almost certainly result in job action if no flexibility is granted with the mandate.”

“[Premier] Scott Moe is steering Saskatchewan towards a major service disruption,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor national president.

“All because he refuses to grant Crown workers the same pay increase that he gave himself.”

Job action will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Sept. 30 if a collective agreement isn’t reached.

READ MORE: SaskTel union says no pay raise until 2021 is not a fair package

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Six other Crown-sector bargaining units have also voted to take job action: SaskPower, SaskEnergy, SaskWater, SecureTek, DirectWest and the Water Security Agency.

Saskatchewan Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said that while the government respects the collective bargaining process and the right to strike, legislation is in place to ensure essential services are not affected by job action.

“We encourage all parties to negotiate in good faith at the table,” Harpauer said.

“Crowns have business continuity plans in place in the event of job action and will utilize management staff to continue serving Saskatchewan people.”

The two sides will resume contract talks on Sept. 26 and 27.

Unifor represents roughly 4,400 employees at the seven agencies.

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