City applies for mediation as contract talks with union stall

Fort St. John and the union representing city works have applied for mediation over ongoing contract negotiations.

The city announced the move in a release late today, saying negotiations have stalled following a series of five meetings between the two parties.

City workers, represented under the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union, have been working without a contract since the end of 2014.

Rashid Hasan, the city’s human resources director who is leading the city’s bargaining committee, said in an interview the city made a final offer to the union May 29.

Much of that agreement was agreed upon, however, Hasan said there are a few monetary issues the parties need to work out, including wages and benefits.

“Mediation will definitely resolve this, I’m very confident,” said Hasan.

“When an impasses is reached, sometimes a third party comes in and sorts it out.”

The provincial labour board has already assigned the parties amediator — Christina Bains — although a date for the parties to meet has not yet been set.

Union negotiator Brent Camilleri said any possible strike action rests on the outcome of mediation.

“Until that process concludes, we try not to bargain in the media,” he said.

Camilleri was tight lipped on what the union is seeking from the city, and what concessions the city was asking for from the union.

According to a press release put out by the city, city council directed its bargaining team to apply for mediation in the hopes of reaching an agreement.

The release also says city council gave the city’s bargaining committee a “mandate based on municipal settlements and agreements around the province.”

We will provide more details as the come.

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