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Updated: Strike curbed, Lake Cowichan town staff reach tentative deal with council

Unionized workers and the Town of Lake Cowichan council could avert a strike by inking a deal tonight.

Sixteen staffers with the United Steelworkers Local 1-1937, served 72-hour strike notice Wednesday.

However, town administrator Joe Fernandez said Tuesday morning inside and outside employees are set to vote on council's latest offer tonight.

He declined to give details of the offer affecting office and public works' staffers.

June 5 saw the USW bargaining committee given what a union release calls an ultimatum: accept the town's May 27 offer, before end of day June 14, or the entire raise for the first year would drop to zero.

Things changed by June 24.

"We've reached a tentative settlement with them, and they're taking it to their members tonight," Fernandez said.

"Hopefully, it's wrapped up tonight," he said, noting council will also meet tonight to sign the contract, if accepted.

Contract talks between town council and USW local had crumbled. On May 30, USW members voted 88% in favour of strike action.

Contentious issues included a floating holiday that's been part of a collective agreement since 1977, an RRSP plan for workers age 60 and older, and removal of that year-one wage hike, the union says.

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