Hydro workers agree to wage freeze, union demands respect from Pallister

Many Manitoba Hydro workers will have their salaries frozen this year.

Crown corporation says 0 per cent pay increase not connected to PC vow to balance books

Two unions representing more than 1,000 Manitoba Hydro employees have agreed to freeze wages for the first year of their four-year contracts. (CBC)

More than 1,000 Manitoba Hydro workers will not see their pay go up this year.

The latest two collective agreements struck with the Crown corporation have salary increases of zero per cent this year.

Unifor 681, representing about 260 workers, settled a few weeks ago for zero per cent in year one of a four-year deal.

The Association of Manitoba Hydro Staff and Supervisory Employees, representing about 900 Hydro workers, also settled late last year for zero per cent in year one of a four-year deal.

"In the current climate with the Manitoba government, the union is satisfied with [the] collective agreement achieved in December," Suzanne King, president of Unifor 681, said in a statement.

"Crown corporation workers and other public servants work very hard in the best interests of Manitobans, and ought to be treated with respect by Premier Pallister."

More than a thousand CUPE employees are also voting on a new deal this week.

About 1,100 CUPE 998 members are in the ratification process, but the results won't be known for three to four weeks.

Details of that deal are not being disclosed. 

Hydro spokesman Scott Powell said the wage freezes have nothing to do with the Pallister government's plans to control public worker salaries.

"I want to be pretty clear that this was a decision and negotiation conducted by Manitoba Hydro, our staff, to move forward with these negotiations. And Manitoba Hydro staff conducted those negotiations with our union partners," he said, adding it's not only unionized workers who are tightening their belts. 

The last wage freeze agreed to by Hydro workers was in 2013.