News » Whistler

RMOW, firefighters settle on eight-year deal

New agreement includes annual wage increase of 2.5 per cent



The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) has reached a new collective agreement with the Whistler Professional Fire Fighters' Association (WPFFA).

The agreement covers an eight-year term from 2012 to 2019 and includes annual wage increases of 2.5 per cent.

The increases were based on wage settlements with firefighters in other municipalities.

"I'm really pleased with the outcome. I'm glad we've managed to reach what I would call a good understanding between ourselves and the fire service,"said Mike Furey, chief administrative officer for the RMOW.

"I feel really confident that there's a lot of good will. The firemen and women, they're not just staff, they're members of our community, and I really felt they had the best interests of the community through our negotiations."

The negotiations resulted in some "trade-offs" that will help reduce costs, such as the reduction of overtime and increased flexibility in scheduling relief firefighters.

"We see that as really beneficial to the fire service to allow us to have more flexibility in how relief fire fighters are scheduled for their duties, and we anticipate over the life of the agreement that that provision will result in substantial savings in the order of hundreds of thousands of dollars," Furey said.

"We're just really pleased with the willingness of the union members to move forward in the spirit of collaboration and trying to reach an outcome that meets the needs of both the union representatives and employer RMOW."

Whistler taxpayers won't notice any immediate impacts, but the new deal will be factored into future budget talks, Furey said.

"That will be part of our budget planning - that 2.5 per cent increase - and we'll be working to see how we'll manage that within our other budget pressures for 2016, 17, 18 and 19," he said.

The Whistler Fire Service has a budget of just over $3.7 million.

Pick up next week's Pique for more.