City, firefighters reach agreement

The agreement stipulates wage increases each year be equivalent to the increase granted to Vancouver firefighters for that year. It is not known how much of a wage increase that would imply as the Vancouver fire department has yet to finalize its own collective agreement, but that parity has been long standing and common for most professional fire departments across the province, said Ken Reitsma, president of the local union.

“I’ve been here for 11 years in this business and it has been that way since, and I believe it has been that way for at least 20 years or more,” he said. “It's more of a B.C. rate that is linked to that."

He said though Vancouver's fire department is certainly larger and operates on a bigger scale, the wage standard reflects the fact the job itself is very similar throughout the province.

"A fire is a fire," he said.

The wage parity issue was not unexpected from the City of Dawson Creek's perspective, said Barry Reynard, director of community services.

"From our perspective, we follow that very closely as agreements are settled in the Lower Mainland so we can budget properly for that, and we feel we're well within that, and (city) council's support of that is based on financial input that we get."

He added based on agreements reached in Surrey already, he is confident any wage increase would fall well within the projected budgets for the next two years.

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