Friday, June 17, 2016

Lucrative salary year for Kelowna firefighters

By Blaine Gaffney Reporter Global News
KELOWNA – The City of Kelowna calls it an unusual salary spike. Local fire fighters could call it a cash windfall. Most people working at the Kelowna Fire Department made more than $100,000 last year, including 105 of the 125 unionized firefighters. The city says retroactive pay negotiated in a seven year labour contract that provides 2.5 per cent wage increases annually from 2012 to 2017 accounts for the salary spike. “There’s not a ton of opportunities for us to challenge that,” says human resources divisional director Stu Leatherdale. “We can go to arbitration but the pattern shows that’s been the award around the province.” The local union president makes no excuses for provincial wage parity. “It’s no different here than in Vancouver or Surrey or Victoria,” says Dennis Miller. “Fire is fire and you need fire fighters to control it. The job is the same.” And the KFD chief isn’t making any excuses for the fire fighter base salary of $90,000 a year. “From my perspective, and I think the majority of the public, is that is an appropriate amount for the work we do, the risk fire fighters are subjected to and the working conditions,” says Jeff Carlyle. While Kelowna fire fighters are getting annual wage increases of 2.5 per cent other unionized staff and management are getting about 1.8 per cent.

For a full list of Kelowna city employees who were paid more than $75,000 in 2015, click here.

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