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Striking Hay River workers, town to return to bargaining table

The Town of Hay River and its striking employees will head back to the negotiating table on Sunday in an effort to end the two-month long strike.

Union says it's optimistic a deal can be reached

Hay River, N.W.T., municipal workers picket in front of the Hay River recreation centre on Feb. 9. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

The Town of Hay River and its striking employees will head back to the negotiating table on Sunday in an effort to end the two-month long strike.

Municipal employees in the community have been on strike since Feb. 9. The union is asking for a three-year deal with a 2.5 per cent wage increase in the first year and 2.25 per cent in following years. The town is offering a 1 per cent increase.

The union said it's optimistic a deal can be reached that would end the strike. Mayor Andrew Cassidy said he's unsure how the negotiations will go but said he also hopes they can work out a deal.

"We're committed," Cassidy said. "We're very committed. But that doesn't mean we're willing to go as high as the union's final offer."

The last time the two sides met was in February. Talks broke down quickly and some union members called the town's offer at that time of a 1.25 per cent wage increase insulting. 

Earlier this week, the Northwest Territories Association of Communities said it may have to move its annual general meeting, which is scheduled to happen May 7 to 10 at Hay River's arena, to an alternative venue because of the strike.

Negotiations are scheduled to take place Sunday and Monday.

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