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UNW and GNWT confirm new two-year collective agreement

Caroline Wawzonek
Caroline Wawzonek at the NWT's legislature in October 2019. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio

The Union of Northern Workers and NWT government on Wednesday published the details of a two-year collective agreement that has now been ratified by union members.

As reported by Cabin Radio last week, the deal gives members who work for the territorial government a 1.5-percent pay increase backdated to April 1, 2021 and a further 1.5-percent pay increase on April 1, 2022. The deal expires at the end of March 2023.

The agreement includes a range of measures related to the Covid-19 pandemic, such as an extra week of annual leave carry-over each year “to allow public servants who otherwise have been required to provide service during the pandemic an opportunity to use leave at a later date.”

In a joint news release, the two parties said the agreement’s layoff provisions now include “improved and earlier engagement for employees to access GNWT opportunities, with a focus on retaining impacted employees.”



The swift nature of negotiations – which took two months – contrasts with the last collective agreement, which took more than three years to achieve and almost resulted in a February 2019 general strike.

“Both sides came together to listen, have conversations, and to find middle ground. Overall, the union is pleased with the process and the results,” said Todd Parsons, the outgoing union leader, who will not seek re-election this fall after 19 years in his position.

“Employees are the GNWT’s most important resource, and it is essential that we have a fair and sustainable contract in place with them so that we continue to maintain an efficient, effective, and sustainable public service,” said NWT finance minister Caroline Wawzonek.