New contract gives City of Nanaimo workers six-per cent wage increase

NANAIMO – City employees will see six-per cent wage hike over three years under new collective agreement.

Nanaimo city employees will get a six-per cent pay hike over three years under a new collective agreement.

Nanaimo city council and the Canadian Union of Public Employees ratified a new collective agreement Thursday, giving about 600 city employees a two-per cent annual pay increase over three years.

The previous contract expired Dec. 31, 2013 and the two parties have been in negotiations since April. CUPE local 401 and the city recently hired a labour relations mediator to ratify the agreement, which will see employees get $570,000 in retroactive pay, as well as a two-per cent rate hike in 2015 and 2016. In the last year of the contract the pay hike will be split into two increases in January and July.

There is also a new job evaluation plan and changes to benefits and allowances, including a $500 increase by the employer for maximum monthly long-term disability pay.

Laurence Amy, first vice-president for CUPE Local 401, calls it a good deal with a “modest increase” and said the union and its members are happy. Terry Hartley, the city’s director of human resources and organization planning, said it is a fair contract in comparison with others on the Island.

The agreement was something left from the previous council, according to Mayor Bill McKay.

“We certainly would have preferred for them to have completed it but we ended up with it and we are glad that we were able to come to a good conclusion.”

He does not anticipate any budgetary challenges and said there’s a commitment to ensure it does not affect taxation.

A contingency fund had been set up to cover retroactive pay.