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GNWT, UNW to enter mediation in October

Todd Parsons, seen during a protest outside the legislative assembly, will be president of the Union of Northern Workers for at least one more year after the UNW announced it was pushing its triennial convention back to 2021. It was originally scheduled to happen this coming October.

The GNWT and the Union of Northern Workers (UNW) will head into mediation in October with the goal of reaching a collective agreement.

Sidney Cohen/NNSL photo
Todd Parsons, president of the Union of Northern Workers, has said a strike is possible if the GNWT does not increase its wage offer. “The GNWT and the Union of Northern Workers have agreed to resume talks this fall with the help of a mediator.

Both parties agreed to have Vince Ready, a Vancouver-based mediator who has worked on more than 7,000 labour and commercial disputes, facilitate the negotiations.

Mediation will take place from Oct. 25 to 27 in Yellowknife.

Unionized government workers have been without a collective agreement with the GNWT for more than two years.

The UNW has threatened to strike if the government does not increase its wage offer.

The government is pushing for a four year collective agreement with no wage hikes for the first two years, a one per cent increase in the third year and a 1.1 per cent raise in the fourth year.

The union has said it wants an annual three per cent wage hike for the years 2016 through 2018.

“The GNWT is optimistic that a negotiated agreement can be reached with the UNW,” David Stewart, the deputy minister of Finance, stated Friday.

“Mr. Ready brings considerable experience in mediation, including public sector mediation, and we look forward to working with him and the UNW to reach an agreement during this period of challenging economic times.

“We also remain prepared to return to the bargaining table prior to October should the UNW wish to continue working towards a resolution,” he added.

UNW president Todd Parsons could not be reached for comment.