Members of Manitoba's largest union have ratified a new five-year contract with the provincial government.

A majority of members voted in favour of approving the agreement, the union announced late Thursday.

About 14,000 civil service employees had been without a contract for 18 months. Late last month, the province announced it had reached a tentative agreement with the union.

"It was such a long haul," MGEU president Michelle Gawronsky told CBC News.

Gawronsky said the new agreement means civil servants — including conservation workers, corrections officers, vital statistics employees and many others — have job security once again, and the union doesn't have to worry about going through binding arbitration or a strike.

The new contract includes general pay increases going back to March 2014 and continue through the life of the agreement.

Gawronsky said the union was holding out for an eight per cent wage increase over four years, but the province proposed the same percentage increase over five years: one per cent in April 2014 and in 2015, followed by two per cent every year from 2016 to 2018.

The provincial government also included a "no layoff" clause over the duration of the contract, she added.

"We weren't able to attain the eight per cent over four years, but we got eight per cent over five, with two per cent already being done," she said.

"When you take a look at what the cost of living is, and then you take a look at the fact that most of the civil service members do not make what the private sector makes … to get a two per cent is not unreasonable."

With files from the CBC's Chris Glover