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City of Kamloops, firefighters’ union strike a deal on contract

The ratified contract expires as soon as it was agreed to, since it is retroactive covering 2020 and 2021
Kamloops Fire Rescue

The City of Kamloops and the International Association of Fire Fighters have ratified a collective agreement for two years, from 2020 to the end of 2021, which includes a five per cent wage increase.

It comes at the end of the year and means the contract is expired as soon as it is ratified.

Firefighters will be given backpay of 2.5 per cent per year for two years.

IAFF Local 913 president Kris Krutop said the wages follow agreements by firefighting union locals in other areas of British Columbia.

“We follow wage parity with Lower Mainland locals, so all, most locals in British Columbia, make the same wage rate, so it’s basically parity with Vancouver,” Krutop said.

Krutop said the new deal did see updates to contract language, including improvements to dispatching services set out by minimum staffing of two people at all times. In the past, two individuals would be scheduled, but if someone was sick, in training or on vacation, the service would drop to one person on duty.

He said it was not sustainable and a lot of dispatch centres have either been expanding or going away.

Krutop said the quality of dispatch is “very high” in Kamloops and the minimum staffing is a win for both parties.

“Really, the city wants a high-quality service, as well, and they want to make sure that when somebody picks up the phone and dials 911, something happens, right?” he said.

Krutop said the city had been planning for and budgeted for the increase.