Ottawa, Ontario - August 28, 2023 - Hydro Ottawa and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) entered non-binding mediation the week of August 14 in an effort to resolve the outstanding issue of wages and end a strike that has lasted for two months. Unfortunately, and despite the support of a mediator, the parties have not been able to reach a settlement.
“We agreed to mediation on the condition that the IBEW negotiating team show flexibility on their wage demands,” said Bryce Conrad, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Last week, after providing two additional offers with no willingness on their end to bring our last offer forward to the full membership for a vote, I instructed our negotiating team to pause until the IBEW negotiating team is serious about ending this strike.”
As a private company who provides an essential public service, Hydro Ottawa is heavily regulated and is required to act in the public’s interest. That includes negotiating a balanced and responsible agreement which recognizes our employees’ contributions and the impact on our customers’ electricity rates.
“While I respect our employees’ right to engage in labour action, I also believe that after nine weeks, they deserve to see and voice their opinion on what I believe is a fair, responsible and very competitive offer. I truly look forward to the day when this strike is over and I am able to welcome our employees back to work.”
The company’s last offer to the IBEW is very generous in comparison to recent industry trends. Hydro Ottawa is taking into consideration its responsibility to both employees and customers. The offer provides a cumulative wage increase of 14.74 per cent over four years, or an average cumulative increase of 3.69 per cent per year. On Wednesday, August 23, the IBEW negotiating team told Hydro Ottawa that they would be taking the company’s last offer to be voted on by the membership the following week; however, on Friday, August 25, the IBEW changed their mind making this the sixth offer since the strike began that has not made it past the negotiating table.
Until an agreement is reached, Hydro Ottawa’s contingency plans remain in effect, and the company’s commitment remains the same: providing a safe, reliable, affordable and renewable supply of electricity to its customers.