Waterloo firefighters will get a 3.2 per cent raise over two years as part of an interim wage agreement between the Waterloo Professional Firefighters Association and the City of Waterloo.

The wage adjustment agreement, which was announced by the City of Waterloo on Tuesday, takes effect for 2012 and 2013 and is the first step towards a final resolution in the contract dispute between the fire fighters' union and the city, according to Dean Good, the president of the Waterloo Professional Fire Fighters Association.

"We're lucky here in Waterloo. We have a very good relationship with the management and the city. This is actually the first time we've gone to arbitration with the city in the last 25 years," he said Wednesday.

However, Good said it has been "difficult" for some of his members, given the fact this is the first time in a quarter century that a contract dispute with the city has had to go to arbitration. 

"In terms of morale, some of the guys are pretty upset that we had to take this route," he said. "Because of that good relationship we've always been able to come up with a Waterloo way of dealing with things, but it seem everyone in the region now is going to arbitration, Waterloo included," he said.   

Waterloo firefighters have been without a contract since late 2011.

Under the 2011 agreement, a first-class Waterloo firefighter made $83,000 a year. Under the interim wage agreement, that same firefighter can expect to get a $2,490 a year raise.

The next date in the arbitration hearing comes in late fall. Good expects the arbitrator will have imposed a new agreement sometime in late 2013 or early 2014.