Unionized employees with the Halifax Regional Water Commission (HRWC) are being urged to reject the latest contract offer from their employer.
CUPE National Representative Marianne Welsh says, “While we did make some progress in recent conciliation talks, there remain critical issues that are unresolved. One of them is a wage offer that falls short of what other workers in this sector are receiving and doesn’t even match inflation which is over three per cent right now.
“The other relates to scheduling and our members being able to have work-life balance. We recognize that shift work is necessary in order for the operation of the utility and have agreed to schedules that reflect the required hours of coverage.
“But this employer wants the additional right to assign shift work with a minimum notice of seven days for a minimum of two consecutive shifts, creating further disruption on family and personal life. If there is a staffing shortage, this highly profitable employer should hire additional staff,” argues Welsh.
CUPE Local 227 President Dave Dort says, “HRWC employees voted 94 per cent in favour of job action in strike votes held on November 20. Of the 225 workers, 174 voted with 163 voting to support their bargaining committee’s position in this round of contract talks.
“This employer didn’t seem to have any qualms when it came time to give big raises to senior managers. In comparison, our demands have been quite modest,” he says.
The union is planning strike schools for its members later this month and will be presenting the employer’s latest offer to them following those sessions.