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SNC-Lavalin engineers vote for settlement, ending strike

Offices of SNC-Lavalin engineering firm in Montreal, Que., February 24, 2019. Mario Beauregard/The Canadian Press

A union representing SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. engineers say members have voted overwhelmingly in support of a settlement to end their strike.

The agreement comes after SNC subsidiary Candu Energy Inc. mandated that all employees return to the office with one business day’s notice following more than two years of remote work.

The Society of Professional Engineers and Associates had said the sudden memo Thursday evening amounted to a negotiating tactic amid a rotating strike launched May 29 at Ontario’s Darlington nuclear plant, which Candu is refurbishing.

Read more: Remote, hybrid work dividing Canadian employees as many required on-site

The union said Tuesday the move to onsite work, which has since been reversed, was a “draconian decision” to “play havoc with their employees’ lives,” affecting some 900 staff members and prompting a complaint with the national labour board alleging bad-faith bargaining.

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Under changes to the proposed collective agreement, employees can continue working remotely until Oct. 12, when a hybrid work plan of three days a week in office kicks in, though the employer can opt to increase that time, the union said.

Read more: Elon Musk tells Tesla staff to return to office or leave

Other revisions to the agreement, which were approved Monday, include inflation protection, updated wage premiums and a new pension plan.

SNC-Lavalin did not immediately respond to questions Tuesday.

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