Striking Qulliq Energy workers hit picket line in downtown Iqaluit
140 employees began picketing Thursday morning; essential staff running power plants
Qulliq Energy Corporation employees, who provide mechanical, electrical and line maintenance for power facilities in Nunavut, hit the picket line Thursday morning in Iqaluit after going on strike at midnight.
They've been without a contract since the end of 2013 and their union delivered its strike notice on Monday.
Workers with signs as varied as "We Keep Firefighters Safe" and "You Own The Plant, We Own The Power" marched toward and installed themselves in front of the power corporation's office. More than one sign highlighted the high cost of living in the territory.
Peter Tumilty, interim president of QEC, says regardless of the job action the essential services agreement between the union and the Government of Nunavut will ensure the power stays on.
"We have identified essential staff who will be manning all of the power plants across the territory," he said.
"As well we have emergency on-call staff to deal with any problems that may arise."
"We're asking for a fair cost of living increase and what we've been offered so far hasn't been even close to a fair compensation," said Maurice Guimond, a QEC employee.
Paul-Andre Brasseur, a summer employee with QEC, said he likes working for the corporation and hopes that he can come back to a job that can pay him a good salary, which keeps with inflation and the high cost of living in the North.