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Martin Gagnon, president of the Laval blue-collar workers’ union (CUPE 4545), along with his negotiating committee and Laval Mayor Gilles Vaillancourt, signed a new collective agreement August 15, bringing to an end a negotiation period that lasted almost three years.

The agreement runs from February 1, 2010, to December 31, 2015. The blue-collar workers accepted the agreement at a general meeting in June 2012, voting 92 per cent in favour of the new contract.

It provides for annual salary increases of two per cent for the first year, 2.25 per cent for each of the following two years, and 2.5 per cent for each of the last three years.

The blue-collar workers also accepted a number of adjustments to modernize and secure the viability of their pension plan. This constitutes a major component of the agreement and provides for the long-term sustainability of the plan through creation of a stabilization fund.

The workers agreed to gradually increase their pension contributions by 1.6 percentage points between now and January 1, 2014.

With the new contract will also come new jobs.

It is worth noting that on February 29, the blue-collar workers voted 96 per cent in favour of giving their executive committee a strike mandate. A strike then ran from April 12 to 22, during which time the workers refused overtime, yet continued to provide the necessary services for the public’s health and well-being.

CUPE Local 4545 represents approximately 600 maintenance and public service workers.