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SNC-Lavalin engineers vote for settlement, ending strike

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A union representing SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. engineers say members have voted overwhelmingly in support of a settlement to end their strike.

The agreement comes after SNC subsidiary Candu Energy Inc. mandated that all employees return to the office with one business day's notice following more than two years of remote work.

The Society of Professional Engineers and Associates had said the memo amounted to a negotiating tactic amid a rotating strike launched May 29 at Ontario's Darlington nuclear plant, which Candu is refurbishing.

The union said Tuesday the move to onsite work, which has since been reversed, marked a "draconian decision" to "play havoc with their employees’ lives," affecting some 900 staff members and prompting a complaint with the national labour board alleging bad-faith bargaining.

Under the new collective agreement, employees can continue to work remotely until Oct. 12, when a hybrid work plan of three days a week in office kicks in, though the employer can opt to increase that time, the union said.

Ratified Monday, the agreement includes inflation protection, updated wage premiums and a new pension plan.

The union confirmed it will withdraw its complaint to the labour board.

SNC-Lavalin did not respond to questions Tuesday, though spokesperson Harold Fortin said last week the company hoped to reach a "fair, equitable and competitive agreement" with the Candu workers.

As provincial restrictions ease, people have been getting more accustomed to sharing indoor spaces, he noted. SNC cited collaboration, training and integration of new hires among the benefits of returning to in-office work.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 14, 2022.

Companies in this story: (TSX:SNC)

The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier headline included a misspelled word.

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