SSO bargaining: Negotiations break off, parties head to arbitration

The Statistical Survey Operations bargaining team declared impasse at the table during negotiations March 1-3 after the employer proposed an insulting wage offer far below the rising cost of living.  

The SSO team is appalled that SSO management and the federal government believe a wage increase averaging 1.5 per cent over four years – with a 0.8 per cent increase in 2021 when the cost of living rose by 3.4 per cent – is adequate for some of the lowest-paid members of the federal public service.  

The employer rejected PSAC’s fair wage increase that would keep up with rising inflation and the wages of other federal public sector workers. The government’s offer is outright disrespectful to SSO members who ensure that Canada gets the crucial demographic data it needs.  Our members are the lowest paid workers in the public service (nine per cent below their counterparts), and struggle with precarious employment, job security and securing guaranteed and consistent hours of work. 

The employer also refused to negotiate long overdue improvements to job security, hours of work, overtime, premiums, and leave provisions.  

To add insult to injury, the employer also tabled several serious concessions that will result in the rollback of current benefits such as the second language premium (bilingual allowance), the personal expenses allowance, and the elimination of the annex on mental health in the workplace.  

It is completely unacceptable to continue to expect critical federal public service employees to work under acutely exploitative conditions, and SSO members will no longer tolerate such unfair and unethical treatment. 

The parties will file for arbitration to resolve all outstanding proposals. Our bargaining team is confident that gains can be made at this stage of the process. 

Dates and further details of arbitration, as well as upcoming national mobilization sessions, will be announced soon. 

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March 11, 2022