Social Security Board Workers Secure Agreement with Government Until 2025
Workers at the Social Security Board have secured an agreement with the government up until 2025. The agreement was signed this week in Belmopan where the workers will see an increase in bereavement days as well as an adjustment in salaries. Speaking on the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), and its negotiation process is the Chief Media Rep at the SSB, Ella Waight.
Ella Waight, SSB’s Chief Media Representative: “We’re happy that we signed our collective bargaining agreement yesterday the 13th of December at the labor office. It was vetted by the Labor Department and we both parties, the management of SSB and CWU we signed our agreement yesterday. The agreement is for four years. It is from 2022 to 2025. The previous one expired at the end of 2019 however that does not entail that we did not have a CBA. It’s just that it took some years for us to go around the negotiating table. COVID held us back. So our new agreement is basically for 2022 to 2025 for four years. This round we did not have any need for agitation or industrial action. And I would have to say that is because there wasn’t any board members on the negotiating team. I think in the past when they did that, that held us back a bit. This time it was only the CEO and her management staff. Being that the CEO is from SSB she knows the staff. She knows the needs of the staff and she understands what is best for staff here at SSB. So that really helped a lot in ensuring that there was good conversation and that there was good faith in the negotiation process. We’re very grateful for the Labor Department especially the Labor Commissioner because there was a clause in our CBA many, many years ago where the temporary staff, people that are here on a small contract or a short contract I should say, short time frame, they were not able to join the union and get the benefits until after six months of joining the union. The LC recognizes this as a flaw in our CBA and we have made that correction. So now we are so happy that the temporary staff at the SSB can join the union and get the benefits from the collective bargaining agreement right away. So we are appreciative of the work of the Labor Department and especially of the Labor Commissioner.”
Waight added that while the negotiations went smoothly, there were some compromise made prior to the signing.
Ella Waight, SSB’s Chief Media Representative: “In any negotiation there has to be a compromise. Whenever you go into a negotiation, in a negotiation period, in the process, the entire CBA is sort of open. Management will, of course, look at trying to cut costs. And of course, the union will want improved benefits. So there has to be a middle ground. We have decreased or maybe lost in some areas. I’ll give one example. We basically had an increment scale of 30 years that was cut down to 20 years. So when you reach at the end of a 20 year of the post-you’re at that will be the maximum amount of increment or a salary at that level. So we lost in that area. But we increased in areas such as bereavement period. When someone dies, when a parent dies, we went from three days to five days that you have a bereavement period. The best thing we got out of this CBA was a 2% salary adjustment for 2022, 2023, 2024, 2025. Of course, we call it a salary adjustment because it’s not a salary increase. It’s basically trying to meet where the price of inflation is. So our members were happy to at least have that part. We have a little bit of increase in other benefits. They were very small, but in this time any increases is helpful to our members. Having a collective bargaining agreement in any organization helps because it provides, of course, the benefits but it also provides some kind of security for the members. It ensures that the members have any, if the employer tries to infringe on the right of any member they can go to the CBA, they can rely on the union, and they can rely on CWU itself and of course we are there for members. So being a member of a union helps any employee in any organization and here at SSB, it’s just the same.”
The CBA was signed yesterday morning.