The twenty or so blue and white-collar employees of the Municipality of Saint-Côme in the Lanaudière region signed their new collective agreement yesterday. The previous agreement expired on December 31, 2018. The five-year contract calls for wage hikes of 2.5% in 2019 and increases equal to 2% in subsequent years or to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) if the latter exceeds 2%, whichever is greater.

The parties also agreed on the establishment of a member-funded pension plan (MMFP-FTQ), the introduction of a summer schedule for the public works department, and the addition of a statutory holiday and a day of personal leave for everyone. In addition, the municipality will be providing union members with their working clothes going forward.

The negotiations, which began in February 2019, were not easy. In June 2019, the union members rejected the employer’s final and comprehensive offer. The situation subsequently deteriorated to the point that the bargaining committee was given a mandate in September 2019 to exercise pressure tactics up to and including strike action.

Representatives of the employer and the union met before a mediator last October, and conciliation lasted until December. The parties finally decided to present the mediator’s recommendation to their respective authorities, and it was finally accepted by 79% of the members at a general meeting on December 2019.