Happy Valley-Goose Bay workers locked out

The Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay has locked out its municipal workers.
Workers with the Town of the Happy Valley-Goose Bay have set up an area outside of town hall to use as headquarters. (Bailey White/CBC)

The Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay has locked out its municipal workers, after the town and union representing workers could not reach an agreement over proposed pension reform.

Union members had already voted to go on strike if they could not reach a deal with the council over pension changes.

The two sides have an agreement to provide some services, such as basic snowclearing. In a news release Tuesday morning, the town council outlined how the lockout will affect services in the community.

For example, management will operate the fire department, and the town office will be open with limited hours.

Workers have set up headquarters in front of town hall.

CUPE local president Glenn Pittman said the union was flexible on the main sticking point of pensions.

"We'd offered a lot of concessions on pensions, we offered a few, and we gave up a lot.," Pittman said.

"We thought giving up all these concessions in our contract and stuff would get us a deal. But in the end I guess council, and management, it just wasn't enough. So, I don't know where we can go from here."

Mayor Jamie Snook hopes residents will remain patient during the labour disagreement in the town. (CBC)

Mayor Jamie Snook said he thought the current situation could be avoided.

​"We were very hopeful that after the strike mandate we got the message, we had to make an adjustment, and we did," he said.

"We really thought this was going to be resolved, we never thought in our wildest dreams we would be at this stage this morning."

Snook is asking for understanding from the public for the duration of the lockout.

"The town appreciates the public's patience during this difficult time," he said.

"It is hoped that the work disruption will be of short duration. We remain open to returning to the negotiation table with the union."

Garbage collection will go ahead, as the work is contracting out. 

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