Manitoba Hydro workers to begin general strike after rejecting offer
WINNIPEG -- Manitoba Hydro workers are heading to the picket lines after rejecting the Crown corporation's final offer in ongoing contract negotiations.
In the face of a general strike, Manitoba Hydro said should a major weather event strike – calls will need to be prioritized.
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 2034 announced on Tuesday that staff working throughout the province will be starting a general strike at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday until 8 a.m. on March 25.
In a news release, IBEW said the offer from Manitoba Hydro they rejected spanned from 2019 to 2022. They said it proposed no wage increased in the first two years, followed by a .75 per cent increase in the third year and a one per cent increase in 2022.
The union said the offer did not take into account the three unpaid days that were taken from its members in 2020.
IBEW said 94 per cent of its members voted, with 88 per cent rejecting the deal.
Workers briefly went on strike last week before Hydro and representatives went back to the bargaining table.
In a statement to CTV News, Bruce Owen, the media relations officer for Manitoba Hydro, said the Crown corporation is assessing the next steps, but said no decisions have been made.
Owen added there are contingency plans in place to maintain electricity service and keep the public safe around its infrastructure and facilities.
He said in the case of a major weather event occurs, calls will be prioritized based on public safety first, followed by outages affecting large numbers of customers and then focusing on localized outages affecting smaller groups or individual customers.
He said restoration times may be slower than under normal operating circumstances.
“Public safety is our number one priority, and we will do everything we can to ensure we respond to issues as quickly as possible until the strike is over. We have redeployed staff to support those efforts from other areas of business as required,” Owen said.