Members of 15 NAPE bargaining units have voted to ratify a controversial new collective agreement with the provincial government.

Overall, bargaining units representing approximately 20,000 workers across the province voted 88 per cent in favour of accepting the agreement. The deal includes a four-year wage freeze, a no-layoff clause and a one-time payout of severance to remove it as a future liability. After March 31, there will be no further accumulation of service for severance pay purposes.

“This has been a long and especially difficult round of bargaining, so we are happy to reach this stage and see this overall result,” NAPE President Jerry Earle said in a statement. “We will now work on getting the agreements signed as quickly as possible.”