“Negotiating a new collective agreement can be difficult under ideal conditions. The current fiscal and economic environment has been an additional challenge,” Finance Minister Robert C. McLeod said in the communication. After years of dispute that nearly led to a general strike in February, the Government of the Northwest Territories and the union, which represents about 4,000 employees, have a new collective agreement. The memo also stated that a meeting of members would be held in the “coming weeks” to discuss the agreement. The union did not give an interview on the agreement, but on Monday CBC received a memo on the union`s letter to its membership. It says, “There are a few areas where the union needs clarification,” without specifying what those areas are. The government has now received Ready`s report and says it will form with the Northern Workers Union to “discuss the implementation of the new collective agreement.” The document states that GNWT employees will be received under the terms of the agreement: the region argues that for almost all employees, with the exception of those already at the top of their current position, there is an increase of 2.6 per cent per year per year – representing an average pay increase per employee of 9.2 per cent above the five-year contract. In his report, Ready said it would be an “euphemism” to say that the negotiations are “difficult and sometimes controversial.” He said the two sides “worked hard” during the conciliation to resolve their differences, but that the discussions were “mainly met with some employment security issues, the duration of the agreement and economic increases.” Conciliation dates are scheduled for February 8 and 9. The union is also working on separate collective agreements with the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority and the NWT Power Corporation, both of which are scheduled for further mediation meetings in the same week. Stewart also said the government would check how negotiations failed to improve their process in two years – the next time the collective agreement is under discussion. Some of these dates go back to the past, as both sides are still negotiating a collective agreement that should have come into force in 2016.

The document adds that “the proposed collective agreement would result in an average increase in total wages of approximately $22,000 over the life of the collective agreement. Two days of discussions with an independent mediator, Vince Ready, were unable to resolve their differences in October. At the beginning of February, two more days of conciliation are proposed. Monday`s release is the first time the territory`s government has tried to clarify how its employees are getting pay rises. At the time of publication, the CBC could not confirm the authenticity of the memo with UNW management, but several union members confirmed that they had received the memo. “After two years without an increase, GWGs received a 1.6 per cent increase for 2017-18, as described in the legislation,” the region said. “During this period, employees in the collective agreement unit continued to receive annual increases of 2.6%, unless they had already received the maximum salary for their employment.