Manitoba Hydro strike ends

A nearly week-long strike involving about 3,000 Manitoba Hydro workers has ended.

A nearly week-long strike involving about 3,000 Manitoba Hydro workers has ended.

A statement on the website of Local 2034 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers said an agreement has been reached.

The tentative pact, which has yet to be ratified, calls for a contract of less than three years, with a "fair general increase" for all union members.

"They will now be taking the tentative agreement to their members for a confirmation vote, and hopefully things will get back to normal," Hydro spokesman Glenn Schneider told CBC News.

An update on the IBEW website said people should return to work either Friday or on their next scheduled shift if they don't receive a phone call from an immediate supervisor calling them back to work.

"We ask that our members return to work with the same dedication, commitment, diligence and respect for the corporation and its employees as they have in the past," the union said in a statement to workers.

Schneider said pickets were expected to end Thursday night.

Electrical workers, truck drivers, transmission technicians and clerical and customer service employees in the IBEW walked off the job Friday night after rejecting the utility's latest contract offer.

They were seeking higher salaries and a shorter contract term.

Schneider described the work they do as critical to Hydro's operation.

"All our employees of course make contributions but these are the people who go out in the bad weather and maintain the lines and do the maintenance and the repair work, so it's certainly critical to our operations and we welcome them back," he said, adding there's no shortage of tasks for those workers to catch up on.

"Particularly in terms of regular maintenance routines that have been set aside for the moment, location of underground lines for people doing excavation work, [and] new housing connections to the electrical grid," he said.

On Tuesday, Hydro settled two other contracts with unions.

The Crown corporation reached agreements with workers from the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union (CEP) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

CEP represents Hydro's gas utility employees, while CUPE represents Hydro's office and support workers.

The deal, which is retroactive to Jan.1, 2009, means more than 1,500 Hydro employees will receive pay and benefit increases of 9.6 per cent over four years.