No deal yet between striking CRA workers, federal government

In an update Wednesday, the union representing tens of thousands of striking Canada Revenue Agency employees says they'll be taking their concerns to the federal Liberal party's national convention if they don't get a "fair offer."

Union vows to show up at federal Liberal convention in Ottawa

A red sign with the words "I support my bargaining team" is seen in the foreground, with people protest on a street in the rain in the background.

The union representing tens of thousands of striking Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) workers says they'll be taking their concerns to the federal Liberal party's upcoming national convention if they don't get a "fair" contract offer.

Some 35,000 CRA employees remain on the picket lines Wednesday, two days after the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) reached a tentative agreement with the Treasury Board for more than 120,000 other federal workers who'd been striking since April 19.

The striking CRA workers are represented by PSAC and one of its subcomponents, the Union of Taxation Employees (UTE).

At a news conference in Ottawa Wednesday, PSAC national president Chris Aylward said the two sides were still talking but a deal had not materialized.

"We've compromised. I'm not going to say exactly where we're at, or where each side is at," Aylward said.

"But I can tell you … that the deal they have on the table currently is less than the deal that we reached Monday with Treasury Board units. And we don't know why the Canada Revenue Agency is playing this game."

PSAC said Monday that some issues relating to hours of work and information management for CRA employees had been resolved. Wages, telework, job security and protections against contracting out certain positions were among the remaining sticking points.

CRA declined an interview but told CBC in an email Wednesday it was still at the bargaining table and was working "around the clock" on a fair and reasonable deal.

Aylward says CRA didn't have 'full mandate' to negotiate before Monday

3 hours ago

Duration 0:54

Public Service Alliance of Canada national president Chris Aylward said the Canada Revenue Agency indicated Monday that it was ready to negotiate wages and "other core issues."

Still have leverage, union says

The federal Liberals' convention is set to run from May 4-6 at the Shaw Centre in downtown Ottawa.

Aylward did not say exactly what the union planned. When asked if there would be disruptions, he said striking workers would be present if there was no movement in the negotiations.

Aylward said the two sides had made "several passes" at the negotiating table this week, while rejecting suggestions Monday's tentative agreement — which took roughly 120,000 public servants off the picket lines and sent them back to work — had diminished their leverage in the CRA negotiations.

"There's still 35,000 [workers] walking picket lines. There's still leverage there, absolutely," he said.

"And they will continue to walk those lines until we see a fair offer from the Canada Revenue Agency."

'Tremendous' tax backlog in the cards

Despite the fact the CRA strike got underway in the midst of tax season, the deadline for Canadians to file their taxes was not extended.

Normally, CRA employees would get roughly a million calls a week during the season's peak — calls that, outside of essential services, weren't answered this year, said UTE national president Marc Brière.

Brière told reporters Wednesday it's been a rough couple of weeks for taxpayers and those who help them file, and the effects of the strike would be long-lasting.

"[They] went through a hell of a time. And I think that some people are late. So there's an impact, and there'll be a big backlog," he said.

"There's already a backlog, but if [the strike] doesn't get resolved, it's going to be a tremendous backlog at the CRA."


Trevor Pritchard

Assignment producer/reporter

Trevor Pritchard is both a digital reporter and the weekend assignment producer at CBC Ottawa. He's previously reported in Toronto, Saskatoon and Cornwall, Ont.

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