http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Artic le_Type1&c=Article&cid=1066860174775&call_pageid=970599119419 Oct. 23, 2003. 01:00 AM AECL reaches tentative deal with 550 on picket line JOHN SPEARS BUSINESS REPORTER Striking engineers and scientists have reached a tentative settlement with Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. The bargaining committee for the Society of Professional Engineers and Associates is recommending its members approve the agreement, spokesperson Bill Buijs said in an interview yesterday. A vote will be held Monday or Tuesday. The society's 550 members have been on strike at AECL's Canadian operations since Sept. 8; members working overseas have stayed on the job. The three-year agreement provides for 2 per cent cost of living pay increases each year. In addition, society members will receive experience and merit increases averaging 2 per cent in each of the first two years and 2.5 per cent in the third year. Finally, the wage scale will increase another 2 per cent in each year to put AECL's pay on par with other employers in the nuclear industry. The society had expressed concern over job-security issues. Buijs said society and company officials have agreed to meet over the next 90 days to discuss procedures governing layoffs, promotion and rules to be followed when AECL staff members are assigned to work with company partners in joint ventures. Buijs said the atmosphere leading up to the settlement was positive and may lead to a "co-operative, more healthy environment between us and the company." An AECL spokesperson said the company won't comment before the vote.