Nova Scotia

Irving shipyard workers ratify new collective agreement

Workers at Irving Shipbuilding's Halifax shipyard have ratified a new four-year collective agreement.

Agreement between Irving Shipbuilding, Unifor covers 4 years

Irving Shipbuilding has reached a four-year deal with 900 shipyard workers represented by Unifor. (Submitted by Irving Shipbuilding Inc.)

Workers at Irving Shipbuilding's Halifax shipyard have reached a new four-year collective agreement.

Members of Unifor Marine Workers Federation Local 1 ratified the agreement Monday after eight months of what the union called in a news release "extremely challenging negotiations."

"The end result is a new collective agreement that includes a path towards a more respectful workplace," said Unifor national president Jerry Dias in the release.

The contract will include wage increases of two per cent in the first year and 1.5 per cent each year for the following three years, as well as improvements in RRSPs, vacation and health-care benefits, the union said.

"We also negotiated a full-time union rep in the yard, improved our contracting out language and have a commitment to resolve all outstanding grievances within 90 days. These contractual improvements will go a long way to fixing the problems at the shipyard," said Local 1 president David Baker Mosher in the statement.

Both the company and the union declined to be interviewed Monday evening.

"We are pleased with the result of today's ratification vote and look forward to continuing to work together with our shipbuilders and Unifor Local 1 to support Canada's Navy," said Kevin McCoy, the president of Irving Shipbuilding, in a statement.

A tentative deal between the union, which represents about 900 shipbuilders, and shipyard management was reached last week.

The shipyard is currently constructing Arctic and offshore patrol vessels as part of the federal government's multibillion-dollar shipbuilding program.

Irving has said the previous tentative agreement offered workers more than $73,000 a year. But the union had said the dispute wasn't over money, instead citing concerns over subcontractors, sick days and disciplinary actions faced by workers.