Talks break off between 120,000 federal public service workers and government

CANADA’S largest federal public sector union said on Wednesday that it has declared impasse in negotiations after the federal government failed to provide a wage offer that protects workers from skyrocketing inflation.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada — representing more than 120,000 federal public service workers currently in bargaining with the Treasury Board of Canada — will file for conciliation in the hopes of reaching a settlement.

The PSCA said that if it cannot reach an agreement with the Treasury Board through the conciliation process, its members will be forced to continue to escalate actions across the country up to and including taking strike action.

“This government can’t expect the workers who have been getting us through the pandemic to shoulder the costs of Canada’s recovery,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC national president. “Groceries, gas and utilities are becoming unaffordable. Now more than ever, workers need fair wages and good working conditions to help keep up with rising costs.”

The PSCA said that workers were being asked to take a pay cut when they need a raise the most. With inflation surpassing record highs, the government offered workers wage increases averaging 1.75% per year in a four-year agreement from 2021-2025.

“Just like all workers in Canada, our members are already feeling the pinch, and the worst is likely still to come,” said Aylward. “As Canada’s largest employer, Prime Minister [Justin] Trudeau’s government needs to lead by example by making sure workers don’t fall behind.”

Other key demands at the table include addressing systemic racism in the federal public service, improving post-pandemic workplaces with more remote work options and the right to disconnect, negotiating better job security for PSCA members and eliminating the privatization of public services.

The PSAC noted that its members have served millions of Canadians throughout the pandemic, providing financial support to those in need, screening travellers entering Canada, developing COVID-19 vaccines and delivering vital public services.