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Talks break down between Canada’s largest federal public union and Treasury Board

·2 min read

OTTAWA — Canada’s largest federal public sector union has declared an impasse in negotiations with Ottawa and plans to file for conciliation.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada said Wednesday the federal government has failed to provide a wage offer that protects workers from surging inflation.

The union represents more than 120,000 federal public service workers currently in bargaining with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.

Ottawa has offered wage increases averaging 1.75 per cent a year over a four-year collective agreement, the union said.

“Groceries, gas and utilities are becoming unaffordable," Chris Aylward, national president of the union, said in a statement.

"Now more than ever, workers need fair wages and good working conditions to help keep up with rising costs.”

Treasury Board spokesperson Alain Belle-Isle said the federal bargaining team is disappointed the union walked away from the bargaining table and its decision to share its plans to file for conciliation through the media.

"PSAC is asking for average annual increases, including pay and other provisions, of up to 14 per cent across their bargaining groups," he said in an emailed statement.

"We are committed to negotiating in good faith and to reaching agreements that are fair to employees and reasonable for Canadians and will continue to take constructive steps to advance negotiations."

The collective agreement expired last June.

Statistics Canada said Wednesday that its consumer price index for April rose 6.8 per cent compared with a year ago, up from a gain of 6.7 per cent for March.

Meanwhile, the union said other key demands include addressing systemic racism in the federal public service and improving post-pandemic workplaces with more remote work options and the right to disconnect.

The union said if an agreement cannot be reached through the conciliation process, its members will escalate actions across the country, up to and including taking strike action.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 18, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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