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Iqaluit Housing Authority ends lock out, invites employees back to work with revised offer

IHA has ended the lockout that began on March 19, two days after 13 employees went on strike
The unionized workers of the Iqaluit Housing Authority have been picketing for larger wage increases and better working conditions since March 17. From left, Heela Kango, Keeny Enuaraq, Joanasie Kilabuk, Paul Gordon, Ken Braun (kneeling), Daniel Kolola, NEU President Jason Rochon and Tracy Curley. NNSL file photo

The Iqaluit Housing Association (IHA) has ended its lockout and presented a revised offer to the Nunavut Employees Union (NEU) in hopes of resolving an ongoing labour dispute with staff.

The strike began on Friday, March 17, when 13 IHA employees walked off the job in hopes of securing better wages and working conditions.

Those employees, part of the NEU, were locked out by the IHA the following Sunday.

“The IHA remains committed to negotiating a fair and competitive agreement with the union,” Kendra King, acting manager of IHA, said in a May 24 news release. “We want to resolve this labour dispute and are ready and willing to resume bargaining.”

“On May 18, 2023, the IHA provided a revised proposal to the union and invited them back to the bargaining table.”

Per the release, the IHA’s revised proposal includes a 7.25 percent wage increase over a five-year period ranging from 2020-2024 and “an additional lump sum payment of 3.5 percent on ratification to address annual inflation.”

In late April, the IHA offered the NEU a seven percent increase over the same five-year period and a one-time 2.8 per cent lump sum payment to counteract inflation. That offer was declined.

Thursday’s release adds that the IHA would also transition to the Nunavut Northern Allowance, at the Government of Nunavut Iqaluit rate. IHA is currently one of the last local housing organizations on the former VTA/housing/settlement allowance system.

This change will benefit roughly 85 percent of current IHA employees, according to King.

“The IHA values its employees and we want to see them return to work. To show our commitment to our employees, we ended the lockout,” she said. “We believe that our revised proposal is fair and competitive and hope to resolve this labour dispute soon.”

The NEU has not yet responded to IHA’s decision to end the lockout, or the new offer.

About the Author: Tom Taylor

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