In collective bargaining with MGEU today, the Manitoba government offered a significantly enhanced and guaranteed total monetary package of a 16.2 per cent increase over four years, along with a direct path to binding arbitration to fairly determine the issue of general wage increases.
The total 16.2 per cent monetary package is broken down as follows:
- 2 per cent general wage increases committed and guaranteed for each year – with the final amounts to be finalized through binding arbitration;
- 2.5 per cent for a special adjustments fund – to be jointly administered and allocated by the government and MGEU;
- 2.7 per cent signing bonus, on average, for full-time employees – $1,800 for full-time employees and $900 for part-time employees;
- 2.5 per cent in benefit improvements; and
- 0.5 per cent in additional targeted premiums and allowances.
Manitobans expect a balanced approach, based on fairness for our employees and all taxpayers, while doing what can reasonably be done to avoid a potential service disruption for everyone. This approach has no downside for our valuable employees and would lock in significant and immediate gains as binding arbitration is pursued, while avoiding any of the income loss and larger disruption of a strike.
Collective bargaining on monetary proposals only began on July 6, however, this accelerated approach became necessary given MGEU leadership’s cancellation of bargaining sessions last week, and its announcement this week that a strike authorization vote was being sought later in September. This despite the employer’s indication that it was prepared to continue bargaining and present an enhanced offer. Even when it became clear that an indicated MGEU counteroffer was not forthcoming and that union leadership’s demands for general wage increases well in excess of settlement patterns established across the larger provincial public sector were being maintained.
Binding arbitration to determine general wage increases is exactly the approach that all Manitobans would reasonably expect to avoid strike risks in the current environment. A fair process, where 2 per cent increases are already secured for our employees, with MGEU having the full ability to advance its position that more is appropriate.
Additional details on bargaining updates and contingent labour interruption plans will be posted at https://manitoba.ca/bargaining/.
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