Factbox-Canadian public servants’ strike: demands and impact
FILE PHOTO: PSAC National President Chris Aylward speaks to media after more than 155,000 public sector union workers with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) began a strike, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada April 19, 2023. REUTERS/Blair Gable
By Ismail Shakil
OTTAWA (Reuters) – About 155,000 federal workers in Canada walked off the job on Wednesday after failing to reach a deal for higher wages and work-from-home guarantees, a strike that affects a range of public services from tax returns to passport renewals.
The contract negotiations cover two main groups of employees: 120,000 workers under the Treasury Board and more than 35,000 revenue agency workers.
The primary dispute stems from disagreement over pay. Tax agency workers want a pay bump of 22.5% over three years, while the Treasury Board workers are seeking a 13.5% pay rise over three years. The government this week offered a 9% wage increase over three years, which it said is a “fair, competitive offer.”
Other issues being discussed at the negotiating table:
* The right to work remotely enshrined in collective agreements.
* Better work-life balance through measures, including additional paid time to take care of themselves and their families.
* New language in the agreement with the revenue agency to protect union members’ work from being contracted out to private firms.
* Greater compensation for irregular shifts and overtime work, and that years of service be recognized at the revenue agency beyond vacation accrual.
IMPACT ON GOVERNMENT SERVICES
The strike is expected to impact nearly two dozen agencies. The federal government says essential services will be maintained during the strike. About 48,000 union workers have been deemed essential and will continue to report to work during the labor disruption.
Some of the main services impact by the strike include:
* The delivery of passports will be limited to Canadians experiencing humanitarian or emergency situations.
* Delays or disruptions with processing immigration applications, as well as consular citizenship services.
* Delays in processing some income-tax and benefit returns, particularly those filed by paper, and increased wait times in revenue agency contact centers.
Several agencies say they expect delays and disruptions to their usual communication setups and with paperwork. A list of impacted government agencies and further details can be found here.