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HRM, Unions Sign-Off on New Collective Agreements
(Thursday, July 22/04)-- Halifax Regional Municipality and two of its largest unionized employee groups officially signed new collective agreements today.
The agreements were signed by Mayor Peter Kelly, on behalf of Halifax Regional Council, and by officials of Local 268 of the International Association of Fire Fighters and Local 508 of the Amalgamated Transit Union during ceremonies at City Hall this morning.
Mayor Kelly said "I extend our sincerest congratulations and thanks to all members of the respective bargaining teams for the tremendous effort and long hours they have dedicated to negotiating these new contracts during the past year. We believe the collective agreements are fair to both HRM and the employees involved, and will assure our residents there will be no labour disruptions in the delivery of fire and transit services in the next number of years."
The agreement with Local 268 IAFF ensures that there will be no work stoppage with Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Services for the next 12 years. Wages will also be non-negotiable during that period. Starting in 2006, the First Class Fire Fighter wage will be linked to the First Class Police Constable wage rate. The differential between the two will be 8% on October, 2006 and will move to a differential of 5% by October 1, 2015. There will be "re-openers" during the course of the agreement, at which time any unresolved matters will be referred to arbitration for resolution.
The three-year agreement with Local 508 of the ATU provides transit workers with a 10% wage increase over the three years of the agreement. The deal is retroactive to September 1, 2003 and will expire August 31, 2006. Highlights of the new contract include giving management more flexibility around ferry schedules, group benefits and overtime. The parties have also agreed to give bus operators at least eight hours of rest between late shifts on one day and the early shift the next day.
Mechanics and bodymen in ATU will also receive an additional payment for working overnight shifts. This will help with HRM' s recruitment and retention. ATU members will be entitled to travel time should they be required to travel longer distances on their own time than they do currently.
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