The City of Fernie and its local firefighters union have reached an agreement after five and a half years without a contract.
Council signed off on the new deal this week which is retroactive to 2012 and will expire in 2019.
CAO Norm McInnis says its long overdue.
The collective agreement includes an over 24 per cent increase to wages and a 20 per cent increase to benefits.
“I think both sides agree that working that long without a contract, just the fact of having to catch up on that length of time creates significant issues for both sides,” McInnis says. “There’s no real upside to waiting that long to get an agreement done.”
The two sides went to the bargaining table in the Spring of this year, ratifying an agreement last month.
McInnis explains what them so long to reach a deal.
“Our local was waiting to see what happened with other locals in our jurisdiction, based on what’s happening province wide,” McInnis says. “I think from the city’s point of view, there was no urgency because the working relationship was fine, but I think we really didn’t understand the impact of having to catch up on five and a half years of an agreement.”
The increases total to $839,651 by 2019.
McInnis is optimistic negotiations in two years will go much smoother.
– City of Fernie CAO Norm McInnis
– Jeff Johnson