The Federal Government Dockyard Trades and Labour Council (West) is a poly-party alliance of 11 separate Unions, representing workers at the Canadian Navy’s west coast base in Esquimalt, BC. The employer is the Treasury Board in Ottawa.
Still stinging from the Restraint Act which rolled back a binding arbitration award by 5%, the Trades and Labour Council entered bargaining determined to continue to resist any concessions and win a fair agreement.
Pattern bargaining, where previous settlements in a sector dictate future settlements, meant the end of voluntary severance was preordained. The Trades and Labour Council had successfully stood firm in the previous negotiations against this demand but now the largest Unions in the Public Sector have agreed and there would be no settlement without it. The terms were not as onerous as might be imagined. All previously accumulated voluntary severance was retained and could be paid out now, in the future or half and half. The severance is in weeks so the current pay rate set the actual amount. A small wage allowance of 3/4% came some way to compensate for the loss.
But where the Trades and Labour Council negotiating team came to shine was in the third year wage increase. Eight out of eleven affiliates locals wanted all tradesmen paid the same rate and this was achieved. The wage mandate might be 1½% per year but through reclassification of pay groups the majority of tradesmen will receive a 5.7% increase in the last year as all tradesmen move into the same pay group. Tradesmen already receiving the higher rate will receive a $2,500 bonus.
Improvements to family leave and bereavement pay round out this agreement.