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17-Day Strike Ends at Canadian Utilities

October 27, 2019

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

REGINA, Saskatchewan—Strikers at six Saskatchewan utilities began returning to work Oct. 21, after they reached a tentative contract agreement with the Unifor union. The five-year deal, announced by the provincial government Oct. 20, ends a 17-day strike at SaskEnergy, SaskPower, SaskTel, Directwest, SecurTek, and SaskWater. The six are “Crown corporations,” government-owned businesses that provide water, electricity, telecommunications, and other services. The government said it would not publicize details about the agreements until they are ratified at all six. But Unifor officials said negotiations had opened up over the weekend after being at an impasse Oct. 18. Speaking to the Regina Leader-Post, Chris McDonald, assistant to Unifor National President Jerry Dias, would not say whether the proposed contract would freeze wages in any of its years, but said the union had done better than the government’s offer of a 5% overall wage increase. “The mandate was a total cost of no more than 5% over five years, and we believe that we beat that in terms of the monetary settlement, by either 2% or better,” MacDonald said. “We put up a fight that they weren’t expecting,” he said. Read more

October 27, 2019

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