OTTAWA – NEWS – Over 150,000 federal public servants across Canada, including 35,000 Canada Revenue Service (CRA) agency workers, could be on strike by Wednesday midnight if an agreement is not reached with Ottawa, according to the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), the union representing these workers.
The strike could have a significant impact on various public services, including immigration and passport processing, employment insurance claims, and tax filings amidst a crucial April 30 deadline for Canadians to file their taxes.
“We are still too far apart on key issues, including wages, job security, and remote work language,” said Chris Aylward, the PSAC President, during a press conference in Ottawa on Monday morning.
Mr. Aylward said that if no deal is reached between both sides by 9 pm EST on Tuesday, the union would authorize a national general strike involving all 155,000 federal public workers starting Wednesday at 12:01 am.
PSAC says, “Our priority remains to secure a fair contract for PSAC members that addresses our key issues, including decent wages that prevent workers from falling further behind, a more inclusive federal public service, remote work enshrined in our collective agreements, and good secure jobs”.
“More than 155,000 PSAC members across Treasury Board and Canada Revenue Agency are now in a legal strike position. A strike by PSAC’s federal public service workers would be the largest strike against a single employer in Canada’s history.
“This is the government’s last opportunity to show workers the respect they deserve. Workers can’t wait, and we’re ready to take strike action.
“The union had previously given the government an ultimatum to reach an agreement by April 12, or they would move ahead with a strike vote. PSAC claims that the government has not addressed the concerns of the workers, including a pay increase that keeps up with inflation and fair compensation for overtime work”.
The CRA workers, in particular, have been advocating for better working conditions and increased staffing to tackle tax evasion and fraud, especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The PSAC represents workers across various federal departments, including the Treasury Board, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and Canada Border Services Agency.