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After five days on the picket line, CUPE members in Newfoundland have won a new contract that gives them a 15 per cent wage hike over three years and control of their pensions.

Nearly 3,000 CUPE members working in health care, housing and provincial libraries joined with 16,000 NAPE workers in a province-wide strike that brought most government services to a halt.

Facing solid picket lines and public sympathy for the strikers, the government agreed to resume negotiations late Thursday and reached a tentative agreement hours later.

Division president Wayne Lucas said members are elated with the settlement. We went out with our heads held high and we return with our heads held high, he said.

In addition to the big boost in wages, the key priority for CUPE was to wrest control of the pension plan. The contract creates a new pension jointly trusteed by CUPE and NAPE. Pensions will be indexed and the government has agreed to pay $20 million to cover the unfunded liability.

Speaking to a boisterous rally in Corner Brook on April 5 National President Judy Darcy said, I want you to know youre an incredible inspiration to every single worker right across the country, adding that every CUPE local across the country stands behind the strikers 100 per cent

National Secretary Treasurer Geraldine McGuire also toured Newfoundland helping boost spirits on the line.