YELLOWKNIFE, March 2, 2012 /CNW/ - Negotiations for a new collective agreement between the Union of Northern Workers (UNW) and the Government of the Northwest Territories broke off yesterday after the government rejected attempts by the union to reach compromises that would result in a settlement.
"We are very disappointed that we were unable to resolve the differences between the parties," said UNW president Todd Parsons.
"It was obvious from the outset that the government was not interested in trying to find solutions to the many workplace problems that face our members."
The GNWT is demanding a four-year collective agreement with wage increases of 0.75%, 1.25%, 1.75% and 2.25%.
Although the government's wage proposals fall well behind the rate of inflation, pegged at 4% for the last 12 months, the union was trying to find ways to work within the four-year framework.
"If the government had made any effort to fix workplace problems and address the union's non-cost items, the outcome might have been different," Parsons said.
One of the key union proposals is a guarantee of an eight-hour rest period between shifts. Hospital workers and social workers in particular are frequently called back to work after their shifts because of short-staffing and emergencies.
A rest period of at least eight hours before having to resume their next scheduled shift is a health and safety issue for both the workers and the public they serve.
The government also rejected the union's proposals to protect whistleblowers from reprisals, and treat all shift workers fairly when they are required to work designated paid holidays.
The UNW represents 3,800 employees of the GNWT. It is a component of the 180,000 member Public Service Alliance of Canada.
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For more information on March 2 and after March 12:
Todd Parsons, UNW president