Municipal staff are set to receive a wage increase of 6.75 per cent over the next four years, the Resort Municipality of Whistler confirmed Friday (Aug. 23).
Staff have been without a wage agreement since December of 2011. Chief administrative officer Mike Furey said the raise, retroactive through 2012, was based on wage increases in other municipalities.
“This settlement has emerged as a pattern in the Lower Mainland,” Furey said. “We’re very pleased to have this in place, because it brings stability to that component of our staff relations.”
The agreement reached with Whistler staff will see a 1.25 per cent raise for 2012, increasing two per cent by 2015. In dollars, the RMOW will pay out $1.5 million more in wages over the four-year period.
Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden said the wages are comparable to living expenses in Whistler, and in line with what she pays her personal staff at her law firm.
“It’s certainly much more reasonable, in my view, than the previous four-year increases. It’s more in line with the cost of living … I’m satisfied it’s fair.”
Canada’s annual inflation rate rose to 1.3 per cent in July, the highest increase in the past 12 months. Prior to that, the rate had fluctuated highly around two per cent, a key reason why the RMOW agreed to a wage increase topping out at that figure, Furey said.
“Inflation does fluctuate … Because we’re approaching a four-year settlement, we thought this was fair and reasonable.”
As a trade-off, municipal staff agreed to limit the allowable number of banked vacation days, and to eliminate the pay out of banked sick leave for retiring workers.
In the past year and a half the RMOW has cut a number of positions as a cost-saving measure, including two managers, one of two assistant fire chiefs and a number of staff positions. Furey said the move has saved the municipality more than $500,000.