Members of Unifor MWF 1 have voted to reject a tentative agreement with Irving Shipbuilding by 75 per cent after eight months of tense negotiations in Halifax.
“This is not just about economics, it’s about respect for workers and fixing the workplace for members and they are clearly sending a strong message to Irving today,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.
The four-year tentative agreement that was rejected included increases of 1.5 per cent per year, for the next four years but the employer refused to move on providing any sick days for workers, despite the fact that managers at Irving Shipbuilding are entitled to paid sick leave.
Unifor MWF 1 has served the employer with 48-hour strike notice on behalf of members who proudly build Canadian Navy vessels as part of a multi-billion-dollar federal contract awarded to the Halifax Shipyard in 2011.
“Obviously our members have been frustrated, and we have seen unacceptable levels of workers being disciplined needlessly, and what was on the table in the tentative settlement did not go far enough to address the members’ issues in the workplace,” said Adam Hersey, Business Agent for Unifor Local MWF 1, which represents more than 800 shipyard workers.
Hersey said the bargaining committee negotiated the best deal they could achieve with Irving Shipbuilding, short of going on strike.
Now, picket lines are expected to go up Saturday at 9:00 am and Hersey, the union’s spokesperson will be available for further comment, on Barrington Street, Halifax outside the shipyard.
Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
Source: PROVIDED BY Unifor