Members of the Union of Public Sector Employees (UPSE) have a new contract which guarantees no layoffs until 2016.
Wage increases and a guarantee of no layoffs were some of the conditions recently agreed to in a five-year contract between the province and the Union of Public Sector Employees.
Debbie Bovyer, UPSE’s president, said part of the reason the union went with a five-year deal instead of the typical three years was that it wouldn’t have included some of the gains included in the agreement.
“It’s the big package that kicked us into the five years,” she said.
Under the new agreement, employees of the civil service, the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission and the Workers Compensation Board will get a 9.5 per cent increase over five years.
The increases date back to the spring and will see a peak in 2016 when they get a two per cent bump in April and another two per cent in October of that year.
The smallest increase will be the 0.5 per cent jump retroactive to April 2013.
With the new agreement, there is also a guarantee that no employees will be laid off from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2016.
A 79 per cent majority voted in favour of the agreement.
Bovyer said another of the big issues included in the agreement was that casual workers can now apply for full-time jobs before they are opened to the public.
“They still have to be qualified and all that stuff,” she said.
Although the contract was longer than the union was used to, the gains made were worth the extra length of time, Bovyer said.
“I think it’s fair to the employees that have to live with it.”
An attempt was made to contact Finance Minister Wes Sheridan about the agreement.
A statement from a spokeswoman said it has been the practice not to comment on negotiated settlements, but Sheridan was pleased an agreement was reached.