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Qulliq Energy Corp. workers' union issues strike notice

About 140 unionized employees at Nunavut's Qulliq Energy Corp. have delivered a notice to strike after talks between the government and the Nunavut Employees Union broke down once again over the weekend.

About 140 unionized employees to hit the picket line Thursday at midnight

About 140 unionized employees at Nunavut's Qulliq Energy Corp. delivered a notice to strike Monday after talks between the government and the Nunavut Employees Union broke down once again over the weekend.

They'll be in a position to hit the picket line at midnight at Thursday. 

'I'm not happy,' said Bill Fennell, president of the Nunavut Employees Union. The union, which represents about 140 unionized employees at the Qulliq Energy Corp., delivered a notice to strike today. (Max Leighton/CBC)

"I'm not happy," said NEU President Bill Fennell.

"I had hoped that the employer would come around, as did the team, as did all the members. But they basically said that they're waiting for us to go on strike."  

Qulliq Energy Corporation is a Crown corporation 100 per cent owned by the Government of Nunavut. Its employees provide mechanical, electrical and line maintenance for power facilities in Nunavut. They've been without a contract since the end of 2013.

The two sides sat down with a mediator on Saturday, but the meeting ended with no resolution in sight.

"There will certainly be the possibility of an inconvenience," says Nunavut's deputy minister of Finance Chris D'Arcy. (CBC)

The stumbling block is wage increases.

Fennell says what the government is offering is not enough.

"For people in the lowest pay rate, one per cent equals a bag of milk and a loaf of bread every two weeks."

An essential services agreement between the union and the Nunavut government is in place to ensure the lights stay on, said Chris D'Arcy, the territory's deputy minister of Finance. 

However, "there will certainly be the possibility of an inconvenience," D'Arcy says. 

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