What happens if your union goes on strike or your employer initiates a lockout?

Your employer and union take part in collective bargaining every few years. Depending on how negotiations progress, there may be a work stoppage. Your union may initiate a strike or your employer may initiate a lockout.

If this happens, aspects of your pension will be affected.




You’re still a CSSB plan member even if there is a work stoppage

Your membership in the plan continues despite a work stoppage and you don’t lose any pension entitlement earned up to the date the strike or lockout began.

Your qualifying service continues to increase during the work stoppage

Qualifying service starts when your employment begins and continues until your employment ends unless there is a break of more than 54 consecutive weeks. Qualifying service determines things like retirement eligibility (e.g., rule of 80). During a strike or lockout, your qualifying service continues to increase.


Your pensionable service does not increase during the work stoppage

If your union directs you to go on strike or your employer locks you out, neither you nor your employer will make pension contributions for the hours you aren’t working. This means your pensionable service does not increase. Strike pay received through the union is not pensionable.

Since the pension formula uses your pensionable service in calculating your pension benefit, your pension benefit does not grow during the work stoppage.

You can buy the pensionable service for the period you didn’t work because of the work stoppage

The CSSB treats a work stoppage like an unpaid leave of absence. This means you can purchase the lost time after you return to work as a special service buyback.

At your request, the CSSB will give you information about how the service purchase will increase your eventual pension and the cost to purchase. Once you have that information, you can decide whether you want to go ahead and buy the service.

How much does it cost to purchase the service?

If you are registered for CSSB Online Services, you can use the special service buyback estimator and enter the strike duration. One year is entered as 1.0000, one week is 0.0192, two weeks is 0.0385, and so on. You can also contact the CSSB to request more information.

Sometimes after the work stoppage ends, the employer and/or the union may work with the CSSB to provide general cost information with the group of affected employees. We suggest you talk to your union or employer after the strike or lockout ends.


For more information about the special service buyback, visit https://cssb.mb.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Fact-Sheet-SSBB.pdf