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Penticton  

City, firefighters shake hands

The City of Penticton and the International Association of Fire Firefighters Local 1399 announced Tuesday they have come to an agreement.

Both sides have ratified the settlement that will take them happily to 2019, Mike Richards, fire inspector and union representative said.

“Penticton firefighters are pleased with the change of relationship we have with new city and fire department management," he said. "The result of that relationship is a collective agreement that reflects a new direction for our fire department operations making effective and efficient response a priority. Our members can now put the past behind us and focus on the future.”

The city characterized the negotiations as productive and recognized new Fire Chief Larry Watkinson’s past experience and role in the negotiations,

“We really appreciated Fire Chief Watkinson’s leadership with the negotiations to find cost savings without compromising service standards," said Mayor Andrew Jakubeit. "This is positive news for the city and we are happy with the outcome."

The agreement will see the city’s firefighters receive a wage increase of 2.5 per cent per year and was reached after only three days of discussions and without mediation or arbitration.

It is considered a success by all parties involved,

“I think both parties came to the table willing to find solutions which speaks to an improved respect among parties. Council felt the deal was fair, realistic, and helped to mend animosities that had existed in the past," said Jakubeit.

The previous agreement ended on Dec. 31, 2015.

The new one will be effective Jan. 1, 2016.

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