Unionized workers at the Town of Hay River began a strike with full withdrawal of services Monday February 9 at 8 AM.
Public Service Alliance of Canada North members of Union of Northern Workers (UNW) Local 6 set up a picket line at their strike headquarters outside the town’s Recreation Centre.
Negotiators from the Public Service Alliance of Canada have been in contract talks since August 2014. Workers voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action on January 12. Conciliation broke down during the first day January 13, without an agreement.
Town negotiators originally made an extremely poor wage offer, and have moved only slightly. Members’ primary negotiating demand is for a modest increase in wages, in keeping with the increase in the cost of living.
“The stalled negotiations and lack of a reasonable offer have left our members with no choice,” says UNW President Todd Parsons. “We’re determined to see this strike action through to a fair agreement
that’s good for the workers and the community.”
Public Service Alliance of Canada Regional Executive Vice President Jack Bourassa says that Local 6 and the Town are so close in their positions that a settlement could be reached if the Town would come back to bargaining with a fair offer.
“The difference in positions amounts to the price of a cup of coffee a day,” he said. “We could settle this if the Town would be reasonable.”
A PSAC negotiator is on stand-by to resume talks, should the Town want to come back to the bargaining table.
Approximately 30 Local 6 members will be involved in the strike action. Some municipal employees have been declared essential, and will perform emergency services.