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Sask. Crown employees ratify new collective bargaining agreement

Sask. Crown employees ratify new collective bargaining agreement
SaskTel employee Ryan Cleniuk waves to drivers in the hope of a supportive "honk" near a SaskTel building on Saskatchewan Drive in downtown Regina on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Michael Bell / The Canadian Press

Unifor members who are employed by five Saskatchewan Crowns have ratified new collective bargaining agreements.

Employees at SaskTel, SaskEnergy, SaskPower, SaskWater and the Water Security Agency (WSA) reached a deal with their employers Friday.

“All members overwhelming accepted [the deal],” said Scott Doherty, executive assistant to the national president of Unifor.

READ MORE: Tentative deal reached between six Crown corporations and Unifor

The union wouldn’t disclose how many voted in favour of the agreements, but he said voter turnout was over 70 per cent in all locations.

“We have, for 20 years, continued to accept the mandate from the government to continue to push back on austerity measures, and from Unifor and our CEO’s perspective we never really pushed back,” Doherty said. “It’s been a long time since we pushed back and this time we were able to do something different around bargaining and our members are excited about that.”

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SaskTel employees agreed to a five per cent wage increase over five years but will see no pay increases in the first two years of the deal.

Employees at SaskEnergy, SaskWater and SaskPower agreed to a monetary package that includes a seven per cent wage increase over six years, with no pay increases in the first two years.

Additionally, employees at the WSA agreed to a six per cent increase in annual wages over six years, with an additional one per cent increase in pension during the fourth year. Like the two previous offers, they will not receive any increases in the first two years of the deal.

Employees at SaskTel, SaskEnergy, SaskPower and SaskWater also received a 1.6 per cent lump sum payment as part of their return to work, Doherty said.

READ MORE: ‘Clearly at an impasse’: No deal reached after talks continue between Sask. Crowns and union

In a statement, the Saskatchewan government said the money is “to acknowledge that employees experienced hardship during the 17-day labour disruption.”

“We are very pleased that Unifor presented employees have voted to ratify their respective agreements,” Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said in a statement. “We believe the agreements are fair and equitable and provide for long-term stability for both employees and Crown corporations and agencies.”

The agreements will be finalized following board approval.

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