PSAC: Strike votes planned for more than 120,000 federal employees
Canada’s largest public sector union is launching strike votes for more than 120,000 public sector workers after the union says talks with the federal government over wages have broken down.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada is launching national strike votes for members in program and administrative services, operations services, technical services, and education and library science
The collective agreements for all four groups expired in 2021. Voting will take place from February 22 to April 19, PSAC said in a press release.
“Wages have stagnated, the cost of living is rising and workers are being left behind,” PSAC national president Chris Aylward said in a press release. “The workers cannot wait. None of us can.”
The announcement comes two weeks after PSAC and the Union of Taxation Employees announced that 35,000 Canada Taxation employees will hold a strike vote from January 31 to April 7.
Last May, the PSAC said contract negotiations with the federal government had stalled, accusing the government at the time of an “insulting” wage offer of 2.06 percent. in the year that failed to keep up with inflation and the rising cost of living.
The union says the government “then refused to compromise during the mediation in September and the hearings of the Public Interest Commission (PIC) in December”.
Once the recommendations from the PIC reports are received, the PSAC says it will be in a legal position to strike if members vote for a strike mandate.
The PSAC is asking for a salary increase of 4.5 percent over three years.
“Our members are frustrated because they feel like they’ve been left behind and they keep falling behind when you look at the cost of living and inflation,” Aylward told CTV News. “We will definitely come back to the table and try to reach an agreement because that is our main goal: to get a fair collective agreement. If that means going on strike, we’re definitely ready to do that.”
Last week, the Treasury Board and the CRA filed a complaint against the labor authority alleging that the PSAC was not negotiating in good faith.
In a statement to CTV News, the Secretary of the Treasury said that the government was disappointed with the call for a strike vote.
“Strikes are a last resort in the collective bargaining process,” the statement read in part. “We believe that there is a lot of scope to reach a fair and reasonable agreement for public officials. We encourage PSAC to return to the table.”
The government says it is keen to reach agreements with all negotiators that are fair to workers and reasonable to taxpayers.
“We encourage PSAC to come back to the table and negotiate an agreement in good faith. That’s where the best deals are made.”
–With files from CTV’s Jackie Perez.