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On March 1, the union of municipal employees of Saint-Basile-le-Grand signed a new five-year collective agreement with the City. The agreement, which applies to more than 50 white-collar and blue-collar workers, runs from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2016.

It provides for annual wage increases of 2.25 per cent for each of the first two years and 3 per cent for each of the last three. The union members had approved the contract by 95 per cent in a vote by secret ballot at a general meeting.

A joint committee on outsourcing will be formed to compare all the costs related to pavement repairs, snow removal and landscaping.

“The committee on outsourcing is good news for the citizens.It will make comparisons, and bring back what our internal employees can do for less. The taxpayers will be able to save money and our members will be happy to deliver the goods,”  said Ricky Lacombe, president of CUPE Local 1691.

A phased retirement program was created to allow a reduction of work hours. The two possible pathways (24 or 36 months) leading to full retirement will enable the continued employment of experienced workers transferring knowledge.

Improvements to floating holidays, personal holidays, vacations and short-term disability insurance were also negotiated.

Some temporary positions will be converted into regular (handyman), part-time regular (clerk) and seasonal regular (handyman, gardener, porter and doorkeeper) positions.

In addition, the City will pay any fees to the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan for maternity, paternity or adoption leave, for up to 85 per cent of gross salary.

“The negotiations were extremely successful and took place in an atmosphere of cooperation. We commend the municipal executives, who have laid a solid foundation for working relations in the City,”  said Carl Dubé, the union adviser responsible for the file.