Toronto - Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has received strike notice from the Power Workers' Union (PWU) pursuant to its collective agreement. This immediately begins a 21-day period in which both parties would take steps toward the safe shutdown of OPG's nuclear reactors at Darlington and Pickering as well as the potential closures of OPG's 66 hydro-electric stations.
Bargaining between OPG and PWU started in January and a tentative agreement was reached by the respective bargaining committees on June 4. PWU recommended ratification to its members and at that time, the membership rejected the offer. The OPG and PWU bargaining committees continued discussions regarding the tentative agreement, but were unable to reach agreement on any changes. Another vote on the same offer was held in December which has now been turned down again by PWU membership. The previous collective agreement with the PWU, which represents approximately 6,000 OPG employees, expired on March 31, 2018.
"OPG cares about the safety and working conditions of all of its employees and will continue to move forward in a thoughtful and respectful manner that also ensures the safety of all Ontarians while recognizing the fiscal realities of the company and the Province of Ontario," said Jeff Lyash, OPG President and CEO. "Our goal was to negotiate a fair and reasonable agreement with PWU, which we believe we did in June. We continue to be willing to go to arbitration to secure an agreement."
Details of the tentative offer that members rejected include:
- Three-year term (April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2021)
- Wage increases totalling 6.6% over the three-year term
- 1.8% effective April 1, 2018
- 2.0% effective April 1, 2019
- 2.0% effective April 1, 2020
- 0.8% effective February 1, 2021
- Improvement to overtime and shift differentials
- No involuntary layoffs over the term of the collective agreement
In addition, OPG is seeking to maintain the existing Term employee classification as part of this agreement to save costs and disruption. Term employees have the same wages and working conditions as regular employees, however their severance entitlements differ and their benefits and pensions are provided by the union. This Term employee classification will assist OPG in continuing the safe operations of our nuclear plants while protecting ratepayers from the significant closure costs related to the pending shut down of the Pickering nuclear plant as it nears its end of life in 2024.
OPG generates safe, clean, reliable, low-cost power for Ontario. More than 99 per cent of this power is free of smog and carbon emissions. OPG's power is priced an average of 40 per cent lower than other generators, which helps moderate customer bills.
- 30 -