The head of the union representing 20,000 City of Toronto inside workers says the tentative four-year contract announced this morning was "the best we could get under the circumstances."

CUPE Local 79 president Tim Maguire made the comments at a news conference Thursday morning. 

Maguire would not disclose terms of the deal, which still has to be ratified in a vote by union members. He said the agreement came after weeks of "tough slogging" at the bargaining table. 

Tim Maguire on Metro Morning

CUPE Local 79 president Tim Maguire said the tentative deal was reached after weeks of 'hard slogging' at the bargaining table. (CBC)

"We faced an employer reluctant to be a partner going forward on good jobs," said Maguire. 

He also said the union is recommending its members ratify the agreement.

"We believe we have secured the best possible collective agreements for our members, ensuring they will continue to be able to deliver the great services Toronto residents depend on," Maguire said in a release issued earlier. 

Tory calls deal 'responsible'

Mayor John Tory, speaking at a news conference this morning, praised both negotiating teams for reaching what he called a "responsible" agreement.

"This agreement respects the hard work of city staff while acknowledging the financial challenges we face as a city," he said. "Together, we found a way to reach a deal."

​As negotiations reached an impasse in recent weeks, Local 79 members began a work-to-rule campaign, with some workers refusing to perform duties not specified in their job descriptions.

The union says part-time staff at the city's 10 long-term care facilities will have their contract sent to arbitration due to
outstanding issues. Those workers do not have the right to strike.

On Monday, Tory said the city had issued what it called a "final offer" which Maguire rejected by saying it would create a "two-tier" system for contracting out public services.

The city posted highlights of its offer online, which included protections against contracting out for some workers in addition to a five per cent raise over four years.

CUPE Local 79 members include child-care workers, planners, cleaners and shelter nurses. A strike or lockout would have closed city-run daycares and many city offices.

Deal a 'big relief' for daycare parents

On Thursday parents who use a city-run daycare told CBC News they are happy to see a tentative deal in place. 

"It's a relief, a big relief knowing that we have childcare," said Dean Kydd. "It would be difficult because with me going to work and my wife going to work, who would watch our son?"

Last month, outside city workers represented by CUPE Local 416 ratified a new contract with the city that includes protections against contracting out for some workers in addition to a five per cent raise over four years.

With files from The Canadian Press