A provincial arbitrator awarded Windsor firefighters a 15 per cent retroactive pay increase and reduced working hours Friday — an award that has raised the ire of the city's mayor.
The salary raise, retroactive to 2010, will bump a first-class firefighter’s pay to $90,000 annually by 2014 and cost the city about $12.8 million, according to Mayor Eddie Francis.
“Once the (fire) chief and I have flushed through a plan we'll bring a plan forward that will mitigate against this impact,” Francis said.
The key issue in the arbitration was work hours.
The firefighters will see their work week come down from 48 to 42 hours starting by the end of next year.
The reduction means the city will have to hire as many as 31 additional firefighters at a cost of about $3.6 million.
Francis said there will be no layoffs and dispelled rumours about the closure of fire stations in the city, the CBC’s Gino Conte reported after the decision was announced.
Windsor’s 246 firefighters have been without a contract since the end of 2005.
An interim wage increase, awarded for the period 2006 to 2009, has already cost the city almost $7 million.
Mayor Francis called Friday’s award an example of how the arbitration system in the province is broken.