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Union declines offer from Iqaluit Housing Authority, working on counteroffer

Staff with the Iqaluit Housing Authority have been on strike since March 17.  (Alicia Lee/CBC - image credit)
Staff with the Iqaluit Housing Authority have been on strike since March 17. (Alicia Lee/CBC - image credit)

Jason Rochon, president of the Nunavut Employees Union, says he's "disappointed" in the latest offer from the Iqaluit Housing Authority (IHA).

On Friday, the IHA released a statement outlining its proposal to striking employees.

It includes a seven per cent wage increase over five years (from 2020 to 2024) and an additional one-time 2.8 per cent lump sum payment to make up for inflation.

According to Rochon, the offer is the same offer that was initially presented, except for an additional increase in 2024, which he says breaks down to a 1.25 to 1.5 per cent increase per year.

The housing authority has not returned a request to confirm the breakdown of the new offer.

"They've never budged," said Rochon.

He later added, "It's the same thing over and over again and they're trying to present it in a different way."

The NEU represents 13 workers from the housing authority, who have been on strike since March 17. Two days after beginning the strike, the IHA declared a lockout.

Rochon says the union has put together a counteroffer, which it will present to the housing authority this afternoon.

He declined to share details of the counteroffer.

The IHA said it published Friday's statement "in response to public discourse" on the ongoing strike.

"The IHA remains committed to negotiating a fair and competitive agreement with the Union. We have been ready and willing to resume bargaining since the outset of this labour dispute," reads the statement.

When reached by CBC Friday, Rochon said, "We're surprised to hear that they remain committed to negotiation because they actually refused to negotiate for more than 40 days now."

In its statement, the housing authority also disputes that it has hired replacement workers during the lockout.

It was not yet clear if or when the parties would restart negotiations.