About 155,000 federal public servants under PSAC now in legal strike position
'Overwhelming majority' of PSAC members prepared to strike, president says
Public Service Alliance of Canada president Chris Aylward said members are "feeling squeezed" by inflation and "can't wait any longer" for a new contract with the federal government.
A union representing more than 120,000 federal public servants across Canada has voted in favour of a strike mandate, leaders said in a news conference Wednesday morning.
The group of workers, which is called the Treasury Board group by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), is now in a legal strike position as talks continue this week, national president Chris Aylward said in a news conference.
Aylward did not say when a strike could happen. Legally, the union said it now starts a 60-day window to call a strike, which runs until June 10.
The union also didn't share how many of its 123,856 members voted in favour. He said an "overwhelming majority" voted for a strike mandate.
A different bargaining group of about 35,000 PSAC workers at the Canada Revenue Agency voted in favour of strike action Friday ahead of mediation talks set to take place later this month.
That means more than 155,000 federal public servants represented by the union have a strike mandate.
When you factor in jobs that are deemed essential, the union said more than 100,000 members would be able to strike.
The workers and services involved
In January, the union announced strike votes for the Treasury Board group due to a disagreement with the department over proposed wage increases that are outstripped by the rate of inflation.
Aylward said Wednesday most members make between $40,000 and $65,000 a year and they are struggling with the high cost of living.
Strike votes happened from Feb. 22 until Tuesday.
At that time, the Treasury Board said the government was "disappointed" about the strike vote and that there was "lots of room to reach a fair and reasonable agreement for public servants."
The Treasury Board last shared an offer to increase wages by 2.06 per cent on average over four years, up from an average of 1.7 per cent per year. The union's last public proposal was 4.5 per cent for 2021, 2022, and 2023.
Among the four latest groups is one known as program and administrative services, the largest bargaining unit in the core federal public service. That one counts nearly 100,000 employees who administer programs, do communications work, clerical functions, data processing and more.
The others are operational employees such as firefighters, tradespeople and ship crews, the technical services group, and the education and library science group.
PSAC leadership said a strike would affect services like employment insurance, grain exports and border crossings, along with the workers who helped set up the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) earlier in the pandemic.
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