The City of Iqaluit is freezing wages and benefits for senior staff and non-union workers for the next two years.

The freeze is the latest in a long list of cost-cutting measures and comes at the same time as the city and the Nunavut Employees Union (NEU) are negotiating a new collective agreement for unionized staff.

Muhamud Hassan, Iqaluit's chief administrative officer, said the wage freeze will affect 10 to 15 city employees, including himself. He said senior staff are leading by example.

"We had a healthy debate but at the end of the day they [senior staff] see the vision of the city and there was a unanimous support," said Hassan.

Bill Fennell

Bill Fennell says the first round of collective bargaining has been contentious. (Max Leighton/CBC)

NEU president, Bill Fennell, said he wasn't surprised to hear about the freeze but he was surprised about Hassan's statement that staff are in favour of it.

"I think that it's a little odd that he said that the staff, the senior staff, unanimously agreed," he said. "They were told: 'That's the way the city is being run now.' The top says and everybody else does."

Fennell said the first round of collective bargaining has been contentious, although he could not provide details because of the ongoing negotiations. He said the city is asking for "major concessions" and offering nothing in return.

"We are certainly not going to agree, ever, to the concessions that they have put forward. Some save no money but are just mean spirited," Fennell said.

The next round of talks is set to begin in two weeks.