Canada: Strike ends after 565 days
The IFJ has praised the courage and determination of workers at The Chronicle Herald in Halifax, Nova Scotia who have voted to accept a new offer and end their 565 day strike.
Members of the Halifax Typographical Union, part of IFJ affiliate CWA Canada voted 94 per cent in favour of ratifying an eight-year deal and will return to work on Tuesday following a major battle over job security.
CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon said “It’s a huge relief to put this behind us after 18 horrible months. I can’t express enough how proud I am of our members who stood together for so long to defend quality jobs and quality journalism.”
He noted that “it’s not a great deal, but it’s the best we could get in the circumstances and it’s better than a month ago. Now we have to try to put this behind us, heal the wounds and bring quality journalism back to the Herald”.
Around 25 journalists will be laid off as part of a company restructuring but in a victory for the union, the amount of severance for the departing staff, which was a major bone of contention, will be an enhanced 2.5 weeks of pay for each year of service with a cap of 68 weeks.
The company also dropped its insistence on a non-compete provision and other restrictions for those taking severance.
In order to preserve jobs the union agreed a five-per-cent wage cut and changes to other benefits but has now also secured an agreement to pay increases over the next seven years and a reduction in employee pension contributions.
Part of the agreement also includes a commitment to no new layoffs for two years and new language to protect against layoffs beyond then. Jurisdiction language protects against the company giving HTU members’ work to non-union Herald employees.
The tentative deal was reached on Aug. 5 after two days of mediation led by veteran arbitrator William Kaplan, who was appointed by the provincial government in July to help the two sides reach a settlement.
O’Hanlon issued a “huge thanks to all the unions and labour groups who supported us and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars” during the strike. Those labour organizations stood firmly with the HTU, organizing rallies, collecting money and other donations, supporting and publicizing boycotts, and rallying public opinion against companies that continued to advertise in Nova Scotia’s paper of record”.