A month after a strike affecting thousands of NWT government staff was averted, the wait for a mediator to provide binding recommendations appears to continue.
The Union of Northern Workers called off a planned strike after the union and territorial government agreed, at the eleventh hour, to treat mediator Vince Ready’s recommendations in their labour dispute as binding.
At the time, both the union and territory issued statements suggesting Ready would “endeavour to complete his report in approximately 30 days.”
However, that timeline was not itself binding. Neither party has so far acknowledged receipt of Ready’s report.
It’s not clear if Ready himself will make the recommendations public, or whether they will be communicated to the parties in private and released to those affected at a date of the parties’ choosing.
Contacted for clarification regarding whether Ready had been in touch, the territorial government stated: “When the GNWT and UNW agreed to submit their outstanding issues to Mr Ready for binding recommendations, they also agreed to a media blackout.
“The GNWT will have no comment until Mr Ready’s recommendations are ready to be released.”
The Union of Northern Workers did not respond to an identical request, nor a request for comment related to its separate labour dispute with the NWT Power Corporation.
A threatened strike involving power corporation workers was postponed on the same day as the territorial government strike was cancelled.
While the union has agreed to a form of binding arbitration with the territorial government, eliminating strike action as an outcome, no such agreement exists with the power corporation.
Mediation between the union and power corporation resumes on April 5 for three days, according to the union’s website.
Strike training sessions held by the union have continued in Yellowknife, with the next scheduled for March 20.
Power corporation workers have had no collective agreement since December 2014. Territorial government workers have been without one since March 2016.
Both sets of negotiations have stalled over disagreements regarding year-on-year salary increases and a range of issues related to working conditions and job security.