Ottawa Citizen, Sun staff vote to approve contract, avert lockout

OTTAWA - Unionized staff at the Ottawa Citizen and Ottawa Sun have voted in favour of the latest contract offer from Postmedia Inc, averting a potential lockout.

The Ottawa Newspaper Guild says 32 members voted for the offer while 24 voted against, despite a recommendation from its bargaining committee to reject the offer.

The Guild said in a Facebook post that members were clearly divided over whether to accept the offer or continue to fight for a better deal against an ``increasingly threatening employer.''

Postmedia had said it would lock out union employees if they voted against the deal, and would consider permanent job cuts in the event of a labour disruption.

Staff at the two newspapers have been without a contract for 34 months as negotiations on cuts to benefits and other issues dragged on.

Lois Kirkup, vice-president of the Ottawa Newspaper Guild, had said the company was ``gutting'' benefits, while Postmedia said it had made its best offer given the economic challenges of the industry.