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Amidst flag waving, slogan chanting and the supportive honking of passing cars, about 50 striking Qulliq Energy Corp. workers set up a picket line outside Iqaluit downtown QEC building July 16.

More than 140 unionized QEC workers walked off their jobs across Nunavut July 16, the first day of a strike called by the Nunavut Employees Union.

Workers on the picket line told Nunatsiaq News this strike is about getting a fair wage to cover the high cost of living in the North.

believe this strike is about the cost of living, especially if you have kids in daycare, said Marius Barbars, an electrical engineer with QEC.

Barbars, whose wife also works for the QEC, said he has a three year old daughter.

Barbars said his family has a strong connection to Iqaluit because they lived here for seven years, and because his daughter was born in Iqaluit.

the strike is going to continue long, we thinking we going to leave the North, he said.

But other workers say they willing to wait as long as it takes to get a fair deal.

Sheila Papa, a communications manager with the QEC, told Nunatsiaq News that her employer negotiating tactics have led some former coworkers to leave the company.

want us to give up on what we think is a fair deal, but our answer is no we not giving up, Papa said.

Salary increases for the next few years proposed by the QEC at the negotiating table are not enough to cover the cost of living, especially with inflation, Papa said.

That particularly hard to swallow because MLAs gave themselves a three per cent raise recently, Papa added.

are they getting a cost of living increase, and we not?

Papa said she doesn have any children, so other co workers might be hit harder than her if the strike drags on, but she is supporting her partner who is currently in school.

And the possibility of a long strike is troubling.

extremely worried. Should I start refreshing my resume?

Sateana Goupil, a trades helper in QEC maintenance department, said, for now, he staying positive in hopes that both sides can come to a fair compromise.
timberland boots children Boots hit the picket lines across Nunavut