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Employees of the Union des producteurs agricoles (Agricultural Producers Union) in Quebec started off the new year with their first collective agreement. The 43 workers unanimously approved a new labour contract on December 21.

“We are very satisfied with what we accomplished at the negotiating table. This is the first total revision of working conditions since 1995, and we have improved them from A to Z!” said Brigitte Fortier, CUPE representative.

In terms of pay, there is a two per cent increase for2011. After that, pay will be indexed to the Quebec CPI until 2013, up to a maximum of three per cent. Special provisions will apply if the rates exceed three per cent.    

There is now a retirement bonus that can represent up to 35 working days. The union focused on framing parental rights and personal leave, such as bereavement. In some cases, the employer will pay for training and a job evaluation committee will be established.

“The union will also be able to oversee things more efficiently as it has obtained union leave for the first time,” added Brigitte Fortier.

CUPE Local 5029 represents the employees of three UPA federations, North Shore, Levis-Bellechasse and Lotbinière-Mégantic, all located in the Quebec Region.