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Nunavut's striking Qulliq Energy workers welcome tentative agreement

Nunavut’s striking energy workers are relieved to hear news of a tentative agreement between the union and the Qulliq Energy Corporation.

'It’s been a rough month, especially for the plant operators in the communities,' striking worker

“Everybody is excited,” says Adam Kilukishak, a striking QEC worker, who is out playing washer toss with fellow striking workers rather than walking the picket-line today. “From yesterday the stress level went away once we found out there was a tentative agreement. And now, today, everybody’s in a light-hearted mood.” (Sima Sahar Zerehi/CBC)

Nunavut's striking energy workers are relieved to hear news of a tentative agreement between the union and the Qulliq Energy Corporation.

A tentative deal was struck between the Nunavut Employees Union and the company last night, giving striking workers real hope of returning to work in the near future.

"Everybody is excited," says Adam Kilukishak, a striking QEC worker, who is out playing washer toss with fellow striking workers rather than walking the picket-line today.

"From yesterday the stress level went away once we found out there was a tentative agreement.  And now, today, everybody's in a light-hearted mood."

The tentative deal is particularly good news for striking workers isolated in the various communities across Nunavut.

"It's been a rough month, especially for the plant operators in the communities," says David Veevee, a striking plant operator trainee.  
“It’s been a rough month, especially for the plant operators in the communities,” says David Veevee, a striking plant operator trainee. (Sima Sahar Zerehi/CBC)

Details of the tentative agreement will not be released until members review and ratify the deal.

"It's not a great deal but the members worked hard and the employer moved and their bargaining team moved," says Bill Fennell the president of the Nunavut Employees Union.

Although Fennel said is not at liberty to share the details of the agreement, he says this is the best deal that the union can hope to negotiate.  

"In this day and age, the way collective bargaining is across the country, it's probably the best deal that we think is possible at this time."

Fennel adds that despite the optimism, "There is some concern that there may be retaliation," once they return to the job.

But for now he says, "Overall there's a lot of smiles on people's faces."

The union has called a ratification vote for this Friday at 4 p.m. and it hopes to have the ballots counted and a decision made before the weekend.

“Overall there’s a lot of smiles on people’s faces,” says Bill Fennell the president of the Nunavut Employees Union. (Sima Sahar Zerehi/CBC)

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