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Firefighters’ arbitration to continue in March

Last week’s arbitration hearing for Nelson’s unionized firefighters will continue in March.

Two days before Robert Blasina weren’t enough for the sides to finish presenting their cases.

City manager Kevin Cormack says another five days may be required if they can’t reach a deal first.

The 11 professional firefighters have been without a contract since 2011. That one was also settled by arbitration and imposed a 24.5 per cent wage increase.

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Cormack says last February he thought they were close to an eight-year agreement covering 2012 to 2019 that would have included a total 20.5 per cent raise.

But he says now the union is asking for wage parity with their Vancouver counterparts.

The city is reluctant to agree to that partly because they expect police officers would then ask for the same.

Cormack says the difference between those positions amounts to $60,000 to $70,000 per year.

The union declined comment while the arbitrator is still hearing evidence.

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