Temperatures across the Northwest Territories are forecast to warm considerably in the next week, just as hundreds of residents prepare to staff picket lines.

More than 2,000 unionized employees of the territorial government and NWT Power Corporation will walk out on Monday if no deal is reached with the Union of Northern Workers in the next three days.

While conditions have been relentlessly cold across much of the NWT for weeks, the forecast calls for significantly warmer weather beginning on Saturday.

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There were only three days in the past four weeks where temperatures in Yellowknife did not drop below -30C.

However, the low will increase to -20C on Saturday, Environment Canada forecast, with expected highs from -17C to -19C throughout the next week.

Similar 10-degree temperature increases are forecast in Hay River, Fort Smith, and Fort Simpson for next week.

Inuvik, which has seen warmer weather than the rest of the NWT in recent weeks, will reach highs up to -6C early next week, the forecast suggests, before cooling later in the week.

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While some 4,000 unionized staff are affected by strike action taken by two UNW bargaining units, only around half are reported to be eligible to take to picket lines.

Others, such as many healthcare staff, are considered essential services employees and must continue working.

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