OTTAWA, Oct. 19 /CNW Telbec/ - In a ballot that took place in the remote High Arctic community in Nunavut, members of the Nunavut Employees Union, a component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, working at the Hamlet of Resolute voted overwhelmingly to take strike action.
The workers who are looking for a fair, reasonable and respectful offer for their first collective agreement from the hamlet took the vote on Oct. 15, 2009. Negotiations reached an impasse in June 2009 when the employer offered no wage increases and provisions which penalized part-time workers. The employer also insisted on denying casual workers any rights whatsoever.
Following the impasse in June, the union had requested the assistance of a conciliation officer appointed by the federal minister of labour, but the hamlet chose not to meet with the union, pushing the situation closer to a strike action. Subsequently, the labour minister appointed a mediator, but the hamlet again chose not to meet with the union.
The hamlet has finally agreed to meet with the union and the federally-appointed mediator. The negotiating team will return to the table with the assistance of the mediator in the hope of avoiding a strike and negotiating a fair agreement that meets the needs of union members. Negotiations will resume on October 25 to 28, 2009.
The hamlet workers want to achieve a first collective agreement with similar benefits that the majority of unionized workers in other hamlets throughout Nunavut already have. These hamlet workers include CARS (airport observer communicators), road and airport maintainers, and workers in administration, post office, finance, lands, income support and recreation, among others.
Resolute, which in Inuktitut is Qausuittuq (place with no dawn), or sometimes Resolute Bay, is a small Inuit hamlet on Cornwallis Island in Nunavut. It has a population of about 280 people and is situated at the northern end of Resolute Bay and the historic Northwest Passage. It is one of Canada's northernmost communities and among those with the highest cost of living due to its remote northern location. It is also one of the coldest inhabited places in the world with an average yearly temperature of -16.4degrees celsius.
For further information: For further information: Jean-François Des Lauriers, Regional Executive Vice-President, PSAC North, (867) 669-0991; Doug Workman, President, Nunavut Employees Union, (867) 979-4209