35,000 Canadian workers set to vote on strike

Wages, remote work main sticking points, say unions

35,000 Canadian workers set to vote on strike

After talks broke down, 35,000 Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) employees will be holding strike votes at the end of January, the unions announced.

“Workers’ wages have stalled while the cost of living has continued to rise, and everyone is feeling the strain,” says Chris Aylward, PSAC national president.

“We’ve been clear negotiating wages that keep up with inflation and a sensible remote work policy are critical to reach a deal, but the agency has refused to respond to our wage offer and still has major concessions on the table.”

The talks, which centred on remote work and wages, have been ongoing but the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the Union of Taxation Employees (UTE) unions declared they were at an impasse in September.

Votes will take place between Jan. 31 to April 7, say the unions.

“When Canadians needed us most during the pandemic, we delivered – processing nearly 30 million CERB applications and providing historic financial relief to millions of people hardest hit by COVID-19,” says Marc Brière, UTE national president.

“But Canada Revenue Agency has shown a complete lack of respect for workers at the bargaining table, and a strong strike mandate is the best way to ramp up pressure to reach a fair contract for our members.”

PSAC recently announced it is filing a complaint around the federal government’s insistence on having hybrid work.

In the meantime, both sides are expected to attend Public Interest Commission (PIC) hearings Jan. 27 and Feb. 20 with the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board, says the unions.

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