Manitoba

Brandon firefighters' pay to rise more than 18% over 6-year contract

Firefighters and paramedics in Brandon will see their pay rise more than 18 per cent over the next six years under a contract approved by city council Monday night.

City councillors greet deal with mixed reviews

Firefighters and paramedics in Brandon will get a raise of more than 18 per cent over the next six years as part of a contract that was approved by city council Monday night. (Riley Laychuk/CBC)

Firefighters and paramedics in Brandon will see their pay rise more than 18 per cent over the next six years under a contract approved by city council Monday night.

The six-year deal boosts wages between 2.75 per cent and 2.95 per cent each year until the end of 2021, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2016. The cumulative raise over the six years — with each successive raise calculated on top of the previous year's pay — is 18.5 per cent.

Views on the agreement were mixed and concerns were raised by some members of city council.  

"We came to a deal. Neither party is probably super happy about it," said Coun. Shawn Barry. "We came to a deal for six years. Six years I don't think has ever happened in this city before with our emergency services." 

Other members of council said while they were happy the city avoided arbitration, there are concerns about granting wage increases year after year.

"How is the city going to afford all these salaries?" asked Coun. John LoRegio. "It becomes a question of sustainability. That is my only concern."

The wage increases in the six-year deal are: 

  • Jan. 1, 2016 — 2.75%
  • Jan. 1, 2017 — 2.75%
  • Jan. 1, 2018 — 2.90%
  • Jan. 1, 2019 — 2.95%
  • Jan. 1, 2020 — 2.95%
  • Jan. 1, 2021 — 2.95% 

The deal also increases night-shift premiums to 75 cents per hour and allows temporary employees to be hired on the same wages. 

"We have only ever given increases pretty much two per cent or greater for the past 10 years," Coun. Jeff Fawcett said. "This just pushes it down the line to another council.

"I don't know, this is getting a little crazy."

The new contract comes months after city council approved a new contract that sees 911 dispatchers get three 2.5 per cent raises and three three per cent raises over the same six-year period. 

The mayor and eight councillors voted in favour of the new firefighter-paramedic contract; two councillors voted against it. 

now