The Estevan Police Association and the Estevan Board of Police Commissioners have reach a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that will result in a double-digit wage increase for local officers over a three-year span.
Police officers will receive a four per cent wage increase for this year, retroactive to January 1. They will also have a 3.5 per cent increase in 2014 and a three per cent jump in 2015. The pact runs through December 31, 2015.
The wage increases are similar to those that City employees received in their collective agreement earlier this year.
“The Estevan Police Association is very happy to have the negotiation process behind us, and to move forward with an agreement that we feel is beneficial and respectful to both sides,” said Estevan Police Service Constable Jay Pierson, who represented the police officers at the bargaining table.
The ratification vote happened on October 7. Pierson didn't divulge numbers from the vote, but he expects that the association members will be pleased with the agreement.
Pierson said that the wage increases in the CBA will allow officers to be part of the community, and to purchase a house in Estevan.
“In order to do that, they needed to receive a wage that was commensurate with the environment that we live in,” said Pierson.
There are also slight increases to shift differential and the health spending account.
Pierson said there weren't any real contentious issues for either side.
“I've been doing this for 11 years now, and that's about five rounds of negotiations, and this round … was very positive,” said Pierson. “This round of negotiations was built on mutual respect.”
Mayor Roy Ludwig said that the negotiations were very professional, and he felt that both sides had a willingness to reach a settlement. They didn't need a lot of negotiating sessions or haggling to reach a settlement.
“We exchanged proposals, we had a meeting on the language and then a meeting on the monetary front,” said Ludwig.
Ludwig said the negotiations reflected realistic expectations from both sides. Both sides had to be mindful of the current labour environment in Estevan, and the cost of living in the community.
The police board still has to sign off on the agreement, Ludwig said.