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Arbitrator awards ‘significant wage increase’ to Site C builders

5% award allows PRHP workers to keep up with inflation, says union
Aerial view of the earth fill dam at Site C in October 2022.

An arbitrator has awarded a “significant” five per cent raise to employees of Peace River Hydro Partners building the Site C dam.

The Construction and Allied Workers Union, CLAC Local 68, announced Monday the settlement of a wage opener as part of their collective agreement for the $16-billion project.

“When negotiations to reach a settlement stalled, the parties took the matter to binding arbitration,” the union said in a news release.

“Arbitrator Ken Saunders awarded a five percent increase to all base wages, given the current high rate of inflation, which has raised employees’ cost of living considerably. The award comes following a 4.5 percent increase last year."

Peace River Hydro Partners is the main civil works contractor at Site C under a $3.1-billion contract. More than 500 CLAC Local 68 members are currently employed on the project, according to the union.

“We’re very pleased with the positive outcome from the arbitration hearings,” Josh Pastoor, CLAC regional director for the union’s Fort St. John Member Centre, said in a statement.

“This is a very good decision for our members, given last year’s wage increases. The award helps our members stay ahead of the inflationary curve, which is eating into many workers’ livelihoods across the country.”

Construction of Site C is now more than 70% complete, according to BC Hydro, with construction of the earth fill dam crossing the Peace River outside Fort St. John now 87% complete.

Construction of the earth fill dam began in October 2018, ahead of its scheduled start in 2019, and is now standing at an elevation of 445 metres, according to BC Hydro.

Ground first broke on the hydroelectric project in summer 2015.

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