The provincial government has reached a tentative collective agreement with the New Brunswick Nurses Union, Human Resources Minister Troy Lifford announced on Monday.

No details about the deal will be released until the union, which represents more than 6,000 registered nurses across the province, can hold a ratification vote, Lifford said in a statement.

It's not yet clear when that will be.

The union represents registered nurses working in hospitals, public health nurses, community health nurses and extra-mural program nurses.

Nurses voted 91 per cent in favour of the last contract in January 2009, ending what had become a bitter battle that threatened to lead to the province's first nurses strike.

That three-year deal was retroactive to Jan. 1, 2008 and expired on Dec. 31, 2010.

The 2009 agreement, which was hammered out after a marathon negotiating session, included salary increases of 11.5 per cent over the course of the contract, increases in evening, night and weekend premiums, and a retention premium of three per cent for nurses with 25 years or more of experience.