A collective agreement has been ratified between the municipality of Sooke and the union representing firefighters in that community.
The District of Sooke and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 4841 announced earlier this week that they have both ratified a new four-year collective bargaining agreement.
Under the agreement, IAFF members will see retroactive wage increases of 2.5 per cent for 2020 and 2021, and a 3 per cent increase in 2022.
For 2023, the increase will reflect the average percentage wage increases of Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue, Central Saanich Fire Department, and Squamish Fire Rescue for the 2023 calendar year.
The agreement, which expires on Dec. 31, 2023, also provides investment in mental health support and the reallocation of resources to continue to improve response times, according to a press release on the District of Sooke’s website.
Cam Norris-Jones, president of IAFF Local 4841, said in a statement that he’s pleased an agreement has been reached.
“This new collective agreement begins addressing excessive overtime and supports improving the health and wellness of our members. Together, through a positive and collaborative approach, we have tangibly improved emergency response to the community we so proudly serve,” he said.
Mayor Maja Tait said in a statement online that the District of Sooke is grateful for the tremendous work of firefighters in the community and is thrilled both sides reached an agreement.
“Working together to ensure we have an agreement that fosters a positive culture and mental health support for the effective delivery of services in the care and protection of Sooke is critical. We are pleased to ratify this new agreement that sees both sides satisfied with the results,” she said.
Negotiations for the four-year agreement were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the release notes.