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Public servants ready to strike if no contract reached with federal government


Hundreds of federal public servants marched through downtown streets Thursday to demand a larger wage increase from the federal government.

Members representing the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) joined other civil servant unions to represent more than 160-thousand workers who have reached an impasse in negotiation with their employer.

Talks have broken down between the PSAC and Treasury Board Secretariat. Chris Aylward, the National President of PSAC, says wages need to be fair, and keep up with rising inflation.

“Right now our main issue, quite honestly, is wages,” he said. “With the offer that they have on the table of 1.75 per cent per year, when inflation is running at eight per cent, that is nothing but an insult.”

Workers marched down Sparks Street to the Treasury Board head office on Elgin Street on Thursday. There, they posted an open letter to their door that outlines their demands.

PSAC is demanding a 4.5 per cent wage increase per year to protect worker from the rising cost of living. Aylward says.

“Federal public sector workers carried this country for two years through this pandemic providing Canadians with essential services that they relied on every day, getting benefits out the door in record time,” he said. “All we are asking for from this government is some respect.”

The two sides are heading to mediation from Sept. 12 to 14 and Sept. 20 to 23. Aylward says if there is no progress in those talks, workers are prepared to go on strike.

“If they don’t start showing us respect at the bargaining table, we will have no other choice but to withdraw our services and take our members out on strike.”

In a statement to CTV News, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat said that PSAC walked away from talks.

“The employer respects the right of employees to lawfully demonstrate, but we are disappointed that the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) walked away from the bargaining table for several of their bargaining units at a stage of negotiations where we had both just tabled our initial economic offer,” the statement said. “This should have been the start of negotiations about wages, not the end.”

The statement continues, “Before PSAC declared an impasse, its representatives presented us with a list of more than 500 demands for the bargaining table. PSAC has asked for average increases, including pay and other provisions, of up to 14% annually over three years across their bargaining groups.

“Collective bargaining yields the best results when both parties are committed to negotiation. That is why the Government remains ready to continue bargaining in good faith and hopes that PSAC returns to the table.  We want to conclude agreements that are fair for employees and reasonable for Canadians.”

The Union of Taxation Employees, representing 35,000 workers at the Canadian Revenue Agency, joined the march Thursday.

Marc Brière is the union leader and said they have declared an impasse in contract negotiations with the federal government.

“The government doesn’t even want to give us a wage offer at the Canada Revenue Agency - I think it is ludicrous and insulting. Especially considering all the work our members did at the CRA helping Canadians with the emergency benefits – it is downright insulting.”

“Inflation is over seven per cent, and they are not even offering anything after eight months of negotiations. … People are falling behind and it doesn’t seem like the government is paying enough attention.” Top Stories

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