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MGEU welcomes Civil Service Interest Arbitration Award

“It is too bad this government made us go to court twice to get a contract that could have been achieved much sooner at the bargaining table.” — Kyle Ross,  MGEU President

Winnipeg (24 May 2022) — This week, the Interest Arbitration Board appointed to settle the terms of a new collective agreement for the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union (MGEU/NUPGE) civil service members, issued its Award. 

Every concession put forward by Manitoba government rejected

The MGEU/NUPGE is pleased that the Board awarded almost all of the union's proposals, while rejecting each and every concession proposed by the province. 

Among the many details set out in the highlights sheet, the Board awarded a 4-year collective agreement with the following general wage increases:

  • March 30, 2019: 1.40 %
  • March 28, 2020: 0.50 %
  • March 27, 2021: 1.65 %
  • March 26, 2022: 2.00 %

The general wage increases are retroactive and interest will be payable. Other agreed items are set out in the Award itself. 

Arbitration board ignores zeros by awarding wage increases in every year

“It is too bad this government made us go to court twice to get a contract that could have been achieved much sooner at the bargaining table,” said Kyle Ross, MGEU President.

“When we started this process, the government had passed wage freeze legislation and was insisting that members accept 2 years of zero increases,” said Ross. “We knew that the only path to a fair settlement was through the interest arbitration process. Going that route and fighting the wage freezes has paid off — civil service members will get wage increases in every year of this 4-year contract.”

In making today’s award, the Interest Arbitration Board stated: “We do not find MGEU/NUPGE responsible for any delay in bargaining which would preclude the awarding of interest on retroactive wages.” For this reason, the  Board awarded interest on retroactive pay owing. This is a first-time achievement for civil service members.

As an Award was issued to settle the terms of the collective agreement, there will not  be a ratification vote. The employer has committed to do everything possible to make the necessary changes to the collective agreement so that it can be signed and implemented as soon as possible. Once that happens, and the new pay plans are configured, retroactive pay adjustments can be processed. The employer advises that this should be done by the end of September.

Back at the negotiating table in less than 12 months

Because this process was so lengthy, the bargaining committee will be back at the bargaining table in less than a year, and will be able to tackle emerging issues like inflation and the post-COVID work environment. Proposal meetings will be held in the fall, and the committee looks forward to participation from the membership. Please stay tuned for more information about this process as it moves forward.