The bargaining teams met in Ottawa from June 12 to 14, 2018, in a last ditch effort to reach a collective agreement that addresses long standing concerns of our hard-working members across the country in both office and field units.
One of the key areas of discussion during this week focused on a fair wage package that the union team tabled back in May. Our pay proposal included a percentage wage increase that is the same as other federal public sector workers, a pay grid restructure and market wage adjustments in line with our CR 3 and CR 5 comparators in the core public service. Unfortunately, the employer only offered the same wage increases as those received by the core public sector and rejected anything else we had on the table.
On the positive side, the parties worked hard over the week to resolve a number of issues that we have been discussing since the beginning of this round. We were able to reach agreement on the majority of outstanding items for both units, including the common issue of converting term employees to indeterminate positions. This was done in the form of a policy that will see term employees converted after four years of employment at SSO. The policy itself has an effective date of implementation of October 1, 2018, and cannot be changed in the future unless both parties consent to the changes. About 500 employees will be impacted by this positive change once this policy is implemented in the fall.
Notwithstanding the above, the parties could not agree to a number of important proposals, including wages, and will be filing for arbitration to resolve these issues. As in the last round, the decision of the arbitrator on the remaining issues will be binding on both parties and will be added to the agreement the parties have already reached on other issues.
We want to reiterate that the support of our members throughout this process has been invaluable and the progress made would not have been possible.
Please stay tuned for more information and updates on next steps and the arbitration.
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Our bargaining team:
Mary Ann Walker