North

UNW, N.W.T. gov't receive mediator's report, say they're open to more talks

The Union of Northern Workers says it has received a report from a mediator appointed to oversee contract negotiations with the N.W.T. government, and will attempt to schedule further talks.

2 sides have been negotiating a new contract for more than 2 years

Mediator Vince Ready has released his report on ongoing negotiations between the N.W.T. government and the Union of Northern Workers, suggesting that the two sides return to the bargaining table. (CBC)

The Union of Northern Workers says it has received a report from a mediator appointed to oversee contract negotiations with the N.W.T. government, and will attempt to schedule further talks.

The two sides have been negotiating a new contract for more than two years. The union is asking for three-per-cent wage increases every year for a period of three years, while the government has proposed to keep wages the same for a period of two years, followed by a one-per-cent increase in year three and a 1.1-per-cent increase in year four.

Veteran mediator Vince Ready oversaw talks between the two sides in October. The talks broke down a day early on Oct. 27, and union leaders announced that they had begun strike training. Ready was expected to file a report 14 days after mediation talks ended.

In a statement issued Thursday, the Union of Northern Workers said it had received Ready's report, about a week later than expected.

In the statement, the union quoted the report, saying that Ready wrote "in my view, further mediation talks should be scheduled between the parties to explore terms of settlement. I will wait to hear from the parties and then will make arrangements for suitable dates."

Union of Northern Workers president Todd Parsons is then quoted saying the union's negotiator will contact Ready to schedule further dates for remediation.

In an emailed statement, N.W.T. Finance Department spokesperson Todd Sasaki confirmed the government had also received Ready's report, and the government "remains committed to reaching an agreement and is ready to resume negotiations, with or without the mediator, at any time."

No further talks between the two sides are currently scheduled.

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