Employees of two Sask. crowns ratify collective agreements

Crown employees wave to a passing vehicle while walking the picket lines outside the SaskPower offices in the south end of Prince Albert. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Employees of two of the province’s Crown corporations that went on strike earlier this month have ratified their new collective agreements.

After contracts expired for several of the province’s Crown corporations earlier this year and negotiations reached an impasse, a strike began on Oct. 4. It lasted for 17 days until Unifor, which represents employees at several Saskatchewan Crowns, was able to reach a tentative agreement with the province on Oct. 21. Details were withheld until the deals could be ratified.

Directwest and SecurTek, both subsidiaries of SaskTel, announced Wednesday that the new collective agreement had been ratified by members of Unifor.

Voting concluded on Oct. 28. The previous collective agreements expired on March 19. The new agreements will be for a three-year term ending on March 19 for Directwest and on March 20 for SecurTek.

Employees of both companies will see weekly rates of pay increase by one per cent effective March 20, 2019, and two per cent increases in March of 2020 and 2021.

Full-time Directwest and SecurTek employees will receive four days’ pay, while part-time SecurTek employees will receive a pro-rated number of days pay based on hours worked in the four weeks prior to the labour disruption to acknowledge hardship experienced during the 17-day job action.

SecurTek employees will be provided with a health spending account. SecurTek will contribute $350 in March of 2020 and 2021.

Directwest employees will see their employer’s contribution to their health spending accounts increase by one per cent of their base salary in January 2020 and 2021.

“I’m pleased that the members of Unifor have ratified this agreement,” said Keith Jeannot, Directwest president in a press release.

“The Unifor and Directwest bargaining committees have worked very hard to come to this agreement, and I commend the professionalism and diligent efforts of all those involved – management and union members.”

“We’re pleased that the members of Unifor have ratified this agreement, and I would like to commend the professionalism and diligent efforts of all those involved in bargaining – management and union members,” said John Meldrum, acting SecurTek president in a press release.

“This new three-year agreement allows us to continue operating successfully in the competitive security monitoring industry.”