Nova Scotia

Halifax Water unions vote to accept tentative agreement

Unionized employees with Halifax Water have voted in favour of a deal that will end the nearly two-month long labour dispute.

Tentative deal was reached over the weekend with CUPE locals 227 and 1431, board approved it Monday

Unionized employees with Halifax Water have voted to accept a five year contract that ends the nearly two-month long labour dispute, but the package does include adjustments to the pension plan that will result in a decrease in benefits.

Members of CUPE Locals 227 and 1431 voted to ratify the new collective agreement, Halifax Water announced early Wednesday evening. They are expected back on the job Friday.

The deal gives workers annual wage increases of 1.5 per cent each in the first and second years, 2.25 per cent in the third year, 1.5 per cent in the fourth year and 2.25 per cent in the final year of the contract. The contract is retroactive to November, 2013.

In a release, Halifax Water said the employees had come through a very difficult time and the utility would be providing extra support for any workers who experience stress or negative emotions.

Union negotiators and the utility hammered out the agreement on the weekend.  Union leaders say it protects employee pensions as much as possible. Halifax Water says the contract will save them about $20 million over the next 14 years compared to the old contract.

The strike began on May 19 after the utility announced it would be making changes to employee pension plans. Union members have since been camped out at various Halifax Water locations in the city since then.

Halifax Water has been operating with about 100 non-unionized supervisory and management staff.

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