Halifax council not sure it can cover raise ordered for police

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As policing costs grow, Nova Scotia's communities struggle to rein in spending

As policing costs grow, Nova Scotia's communities struggle to rein in spending

Halifax regional council has set aside funds to cover wage increases from contract negotiations with its police force, but it's not clear if there's enough to cover all of the recommended raise.

On Friday, an arbitration panel recommended a 2.75 per cent annual increase for five years.

The union had requested a 10-year contract with various increases over the life of the contract, while Halifax officials had asked for a four-year contract with a one per cent lump payment in the first two years and a one per cent annual increase in the final two years.

"Staff has yet to go through it and evaluate what the results are and the impacts to the municipality," said Coun. Steve Craig, who is also the chair of the police commission.

The arbitration decision noted the municipality and union for the police force, the Halifax Regional Police Association, experienced an "almost total failure of bargaining" during negotiations, which prompted the need for arbitration.

Contract details

One thing the panel didn't change was the long-service award, a lump sum payment members with enough years of service received upon retirement. The union wanted it increased, while the municipality wanted it gone. Members with 20 years of service get $1,500, while members with 25 years of service get $2,000 when they retire.

The benefits structure for members of the force was also left unchanged.

Details of the report were discussed behind closed doors at the monthly meeting of the police commission on Monday.