Hay River strike: Tensions rise over contract workers

Three months into a municipal strike, tensions are rising in Hay River over the town's announcement it will hire contract workers over the summer, and an offer by a local business to go ahead and put on a summer camp the town was forced to cancel.

'We don't want members' work being done by scabs or replacement workers:' union

Employees of the Town of Hay River picket outside the town hall in May. The workers have been on strike since Feb. 9. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Three months into a municipal strike, tensions are rising in Hay River over the town's announcement it will hire contract workers over the summer, and an offer by a local business to go ahead and put on a summer camp the town was forced to cancel. 

Earlier this week, the town cancelled its "Summer Heat" day camp for kids, and said it would use contract workers to inspect playgrounds and provide groundskeeping services.

Gayla Thunstrom of the Union of Northern Workers says the town has reached a new low.

Gayla Thunstrom, first vice-president of the Union of Northern Workers, says bringing in replacement workers will heighten tensions in the ongoing labour dispute between the town and its employees. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

"We don't want members' work being done by scabs or replacement workers," Thunstrom said.

"Bringing scab workers or replacement workers will heighten the tensions of any dispute and it deeply divides the community more than it is already."

Meanwhile, summer programming may still go ahead.

Rowes.ca says it's interested in running the program. In a post on Facebook, it says they're looking for staff.  

The town says it still wants to negotiate to bring the strike to an end.

The union says the town needs to move off its current offer to workers or go to binding arbitration.

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