Union members at the NWT’s Ekati diamond mine have ratified a new agreement with Dominion Diamond Mines, the mine’s controlling owner and operator.

The Union of Northern Workers reached a tentative deal with Dominion last month, following the company’s threat to contract out 150 entry-level jobs over what it termed “unacceptably high” levels of absenteeism.

The terms of the new agreement have not been published by either party, though the CBC obtained a copy earlier this month. Following ratification, the deal takes effect immediately.

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Under the agreement, workers will receive cost-of-living wage increases for the next three years, extra leave, and increased job security, the broadcaster reported.

The 150 jobs earmarked by Dominion for contracting out are also kept in place by the deal.

“Our preference in this situation was to be able to come to an agreement with the union, so we are pleased that the union membership has voted to ratify the agreement. This is a positive development for Ekati and its employees,” said Patrick Evans, Dominion’s chief executive.

Union boss Todd Parsons, in the same joint statement released on Tuesday, said : “This new agreement provides job security for our members at the Ekati mine for years to come, which is important.

“This is good news not only for the union and its members, but also for Dominion and the North.”

Around 500 workers at Ekati are represented by the union.