Manitoba Public Insurance workers reject offer, remain on the picket line
Workers at Manitoba’s Crown-owned auto insurance corporation rejected the latest contract offer Monday and remained on strike.
The 1,700 workers at Manitoba Public Insurance, represented by the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union, “overwhelmingly” rejected the offer that included wage increases totalling more than 12 per cent over four years, union president Kyle Ross said.
“Our members have spoken that this offer is not what they deem fair and not what they want to take,” Ross said after the results were released.
The strike began Aug. 28 and has affected services such as damage claims and driver road tests.
The walkout began under the former Progressive Conservative government, and the new offer from management came after the NDP was elected on Oct. 3 and replaced all but one member of the Manitoba Public Insurance board.
The new government also told the board to rescind a previous contract offer and return to the bargaining table to reach a deal. Premier Wab Kinew promised a “hug” for civil servants after years of fiscal restraint under the Tories.
The NDP government has to do more, Ross said.
“They have a role to play in this … and we’re hopeful we can come to a place where we can resolve this quickly.”
Even the latest offer falls short of salary hikes that politicians at the Manitoba legislature are getting automatically under a cost-of-living adjustment formula, Ross added.
The union was planning to resume picket lines Tuesday at locations including the Manitoba legislature.
Manitoba Public Insurance did not respond when asked whether it will now seek binding arbitration, as provincial labour law permits.
“MPI is committed to continuing to work with MGEU to resolve this dispute and bring our 1,700 employees back to work,” communications manager Kristy Rydz wrote in an email.
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