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NTPC walks from negotiations

Andrea Markey
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Nov 21/05) - After almost a year of negotiations for a new collective agreement with the Union of Northern Workers, the NWT Power Corporation walked away from the table last week.

Negotiations have been ongoing since the previous collective agreement for the approximately 130 NTPC employees expired on Dec. 31.

Outstanding issues including job evaluation and pay will be mediated by an independent third party, said Cheryle Donahue, human resources manager with NTPC.

The union also lists hours of work and grievance/arbitration as main issues of contention.

Under terms proposed by NTPC, the number of hours employees work would remain the same, but the scheduling would change to include shifts of up to 12 hours a day for all employees, including office workers who currently work 7.5 hours a day.

Hours would be averaged over an eight-week period, effectively eliminating payment for over-time, said Todd Parson, president of the Union of Northern Workers.

"It is a very contentious issue."

The 2.25 per cent pay increase is not enough to cover increasing costs of housing, fuel and other necessities, said Parsons, adding the union is looking at 3.25 per cent.

"We are very disappointed the employer walked away from the table and prolonged this process," said Parsons. "We are still a long way from settlement."

Dates for mediation will be set in the coming weeks.