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On Friday, February 24, the Montreal union of municipal employees (SFMM-CUPE Local 429) attended the official signing of the new collective agreement for City of Hampstead white-collar workers. Voting at a general meeting on January 25, the white collars were 88 per cent in favour of the tentative agreement reached between the parties on December 15, 2011.

The new contract covers a period of five years, from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2015. In addition to wage increases of approximately 2 per cent for 2011 and 2.5 per cent for each subsequent year, including indexation to the Quebec CPI of up to 3 per cent for the years 2014 and 2015, the agreement raises the ceiling on the pension plan for union members working in public safety, starting at age 60.

Students were not forgotten either, as the union obtained an increase of 47 cents in their hourly rate for 2011, 3.6 per cent for 2012, and a guarantee of at least 102 per cent of the minimum wage for subsequent years.

As of on January 1, 2012, the various premiums are increased by 10 per cent. There will now be a $10 meal allowance when more than three hours of overtime is assigned, and union members who do not work with the public will have access to a flexible work schedule.

“We are very proud of the vote, which clearly demonstrates that we have achieved our objectives,” said union president, Monique Côté, following the vote. She also acknowledged the excellent work of Francine Bouliane, vice-president responsible for the file, and Nicolas Cléroux, CUPE union advisor, who were treated with respect by the employer throughout the negotiations, initiated in February 2011.