This week, employees with the Saguenay fire department voted 85% in favour of a tentative agreement reached last November 2 to renew their collective agreement. 

“We have been negotiating for two years. However, recently, we sensed some openness at the bargaining table and a willingness to settle. We’re thrilled with this new five-year contract,” explained CUPE union representative Anny Gilbert.  

The 136 members of CUPE 7171 will see their wages increase by 18.75% over five years. In addition, they obtained the addition of 5 permanent positions, 21 regulars/permanent replacement and a guarantee not to extend temporary status beyond five years.  

The parties tackled several irritants, including the resolution of a major grievance that represented a significant gain of additional weeks vacation, which are essentially corrections made to previous years. Moreover, members will now have access to vacations and leave to make it easier to achieve life-work balance.  

Given the nature of the fire department’s work, the union and the employer agreed to establish a working committee to conduct an in-depth study on the implementation of a 24-hour schedule. .  

“We will continue to work together to find long-term solutions that will adequately serve citizens while at the same time respect the working conditions of our members,” said David Grant, president of CUPE 7171.