Sask. Crop Insurance staff ratify new contract

Unionized workers at Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corp. have formally voted in favour of another 13 months of labour peace.

Voting by mail and at meetings held throughout August, the workers, represented by the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees Union (SGEU), have approved a new three-year deal retroactive to October 2009 and expiring Sept. 30, 2012.

Neither Melville-based SCIC nor the SGEU had published a final vote count Tuesday.

The union represents about 500 workers provincewide handling farmers’ business risk management programs, including crop insurance, the provincial wildlife damage compensation program and the federal/provincial AgriStability program.

The workers went on strike briefly in June, but negotiators reached a tentative deal shortly after Premier Brad Wall formally filed a request to recall MLAs to pass back-to-work legislation.

The terms of the approved deal include a 5.5 per cent general wage increase over three years plus an added 0.25 per cent general wage increase in the third year “in consideration of negotiated efficiencies,” the Saskatchewan government said in its release Tuesday.

The deal also includes an overnight allowance of $25 a night for employees who travel away from home for more than three days in a row, starting after the third day; an increase in designated holiday pay for casual, temporary employees and adjusters; an added employer contribution to the employees’ dental plan; and an increase in employee and employer pension contributions.

The deal, the province said, also includes an “agreement to reconsider” a retroactive application of seniority for employees who previously weren’t given seniority after being away on maternity leave.

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