How might the federal workers’ strike impact you?

More than 155,000 public servants are now on strike.

After weeks of uncertainty, 155,000 public servants went on strike this morning. Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) national president Chris Aylward earlier this week announced a deadline of Tuesday at 9 p.m. for the union and the federal government to reach an agreement in their negotiations for workers at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and in departments and agencies under the purview of the Treasury Board about wages and other items of concern to public servants, including remote work.

At a press conference held shortly after the strike deadline Tuesday night, Aylward told reporters that union members will be on strike as of one minute after midnight, with picket lines to be set up in more than 250 locations across the country.

All members, except about 30,000 workers deemed as essential workers, are expected to report to a picket line, making this the largest federal public service work stoppage since 1991.

“The members are pumped,” Aylward told reporters at the press conference. “The members, as I said last week, spoke loudly, they spoke very clearly and our members are prepared to fight for a good decent fair collective agreement.”

In a press release issued following the Tuesday evening announcement, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat said it had “done everything it can” to reach a deal and avoid disrupting services Canadians rely on.

“Despite some ongoing movement at the bargaining table on key issues by both sides, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) has decided to proceed with a nation-wide general strike,” the statement said. “Our goal has always been to reach agreements that are fair and competitive for employees, and reasonable for taxpayers. While we recognize and respect the right to strike, a strike should always come as a last resort.”

The release indicated that the government presented a “fair, competitive offer” to PSAC of a 9 per cent increase over three years and had “responded to all their demands” including proposals on PSAC priorities like telework, shift premiums, improved leave with pay for family-related responsibilities, and measures to support employment equity and diversity and inclusion.

“Even though there is a competitive deal on the table, the PSAC continues to insist on demands that are unaffordable and would severely impact the Government’s ability to deliver services to Canadians,” the statement said. “The Government of Canada recognizes the important contributions of public servants and will continue negotiations with the PSAC to reach an agreement quickly that would get needed wage increases into employees’ hands as soon as possible.”


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