The Port Alberni Professional Firefighters Association and the City of Port Alberni have reached a new collective agreement.
The agreement is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2014 and will be in effect until December 31, 2019.
According to the city, “the new agreement provides for a 3.95 per cent wage increase in 2015 and a 2.5 per cent wage increase in each of the remaining years.”
The 3.95 per cent increase for 2014 comes as a results of an pay increase in Powell River that brought their salaries up to the same rate as Campbell River and similar B.C. communities.
Firefighters are not allowed to strike as they are deemed essential services, the release states. If a negotiated agreement cannot be reached between the parties, it is settled via third party arbitration.
’This process has consistently led to settlements across the province that have provided firefighters with wage parity with their counterparts,” the city said in a statement.
“As a result of this, the City has made concerted efforts to avoid a costly arbitration process despite concerns regarding the wage settlements being higher than other municipal unionized employees.”
Firefighting salaries across B.C. are negotiated to reach wage parity with other communities.
According to fire Chief Tim Pley, the collective agreement won’t be completely signed off on till October,
“We need to incorporate the agreed upon changes into the [agreement] document, and send it to the union for their approval. Often there is a backing and forthing of specific items before finalizing the document, which takes time,” said Pley.
“Implementation of the provisions agreed upon during bargaining does not require that the [agreement] be updated and signed, so there is no compelling rush to get that work done.”