'Modest' salary increase part of tentative agreement between NAPE, province

The union representing most Newfoundland and Labrador public servants has reached a tentative deal with the Newfoundland and Labrador government, in a pact that includes a salary increase. 

However, details of the tentative deal involving the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees are being kept under wraps for now. 

Finance Minister Tom Osborne would say only that the proposed pay hike is a "modest" increase. 

"I believe it's a fair and balanced agreement by both sides," Osborne told reporters Tuesday.

NAPE's bargaining team hammered out the deal for 16 different bargaining units, including its largest, for general service workers. The tentative deal also covers such units as lab and X-ray workers, correctional officers, and faculty and staff at the College of the North Atlantic. 

The proposed deal reduces post-employment benefits, but only for new employees.

The tentative deal extends an existing contract extension by two years, taking it to 2022.

Osborne said the concessions on post-retirement benefits for new employees will see savings that will grow over time and will offset some, but not all, of the extra cost of providing wage increases.

Bruce Tilley/CBC

"The cost of living, or the consumer price index, is about two per cent a year. I think it would be completely unrealistic to expect a new agreement to have four more zeros," he said, referring to the existing agreement that contained no salary increases.

Deal offers 'peace of mind': NAPE

NAPE president Jerry Earle said he thinks members will be pleased once they see the details outlined in the deal.

"It also gives our members and the people of the province who rely on the vital public services they provide peace of mind."

Peter Cowan/CBC

The full details of the agreement will be brought to NAPE's more than 16,000 members for a ratification vote, expected to happen in early January.

"Our members can go to work with the full knowledge that they have a collective agreement in place and they're being recognized for the invaluable service they provide," said Earle.

In January 2018, NAPE members voted 88 per cent in favour of a new collective agreement. The terms included a no-layoff clause for the duration of the agreement, no wage increases, and a severance buyout that will cost taxpayers about $250 million.

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