Length of many contracts this week is short

Wage increases also generally modest

Another first agreement has been ratified in the British Columbia agricultural sector. This time, it is between Gipaanda Greenhouses and the Steelworkers.

The wage increases are modest, one per cent, 1.5 per cent and two percent over three years, but a cost-shared health and welfare plan is created for roughly two-thirds of the bargaining unit with the greatest seniority. Provision for a six-month unpaid leave of absence for various purposes is also introduced.

Hilroy, in Toronto, has extended their collective agreement with the CEP for 12 months with no wage increases. Premiums and benefits under the agreement are also unchanged.

Boart Longyear, which manufactures mining equipment in North Bay, Ontario, has agreed to a two-year contract with the IAM. It provides two per cent in each year plus a triggered COLA.

The big change at Boart is a defined-contribution plan introduced for new hires. The company contribution rises with service, beginning at three per cent of salary and increasing to four per cent after four years and five per cent after 10. Employees will contribute two per cent.

Early retirement is being offered for those aged 55 with 25 years of service.

Finally, the City of Whitehorse has settled with its inside and outside employees. A new job classification plan has been put into place and roughly two-thirds of the workforce will have their pay upgraded. The balance will be green-circled.

Wage increases for the new agreement are semi-annual for the first two year and annual for the final two and total 8.5 per cent. The city will also increase its pension contribution from 6.5 per cent of salary to seven.

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